One of the best-selling games of 2017 on Steam, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds caused quite a stir last year - and that looks to continue in 2018. Brendan Greene is a pioneer of the Battle Royale genre and creator of the Battle Royale game mode on the ARMA series and 'King of the Kill' in H1Z1, and is working on this new title with a veteran team at Bluehole.
Following the sale of over 30m copies of PUBG and 3.1 million concurrent players on Steam, the game has officially left Early Access on PC with the 1.0 update. Here, we detail what that update included, along with the latest PUBG news including rumours that PUBG could be released on PS4.
What's new in PUBG?
Following a slightly longer-than-expected server maintenance period, PUBG was updated to version 1.0 on 21 December 2017, marking the end of the Steam Early Access period. The update was by far the largest in PUBG's short history, clocking in at 12.6GB, and added a myriad of features. While the complete list is way too long to post here, highlights of the update included:
- New Desert map (Miramar, see more below)
- 3D Replay System
- Complete ballistics overhaul
- Five new weapons
- Three new vehicles
- Vaulting & climbing mechanics
Bluehole also confirmed before launch that following the release of the 1.0 update, the team would look into more cosmetics in loot boxes. Don't worry about pay to win though, as the company has already promised that loot boxes won't provide any gameplay advantages (although comparing a full camo outfit with a white t-shirt and jeans, it's obvious which would get spotted first!).
Will PUBG ever be released on PS4?
Now that the top-selling Battle Royale game is now available on both PC and Xbox One, the focus for us at home has shifted to the PS4, the best-selling console of the generation. PUBG devs would be crazy not to bring it to a platform with so many users, right?
It seems that PS4 support is on the cards for PUBG, but it doesn't sound like it'll be coming anytime soon. PUBG Corp CEO Chang Han Kim revealed to Inven Global that the final goal is to "launch the title on every platform", although he mentioned that PUBG is still an "exclusive title on Xbox One for some time" and that the company wants to "focus on completing the Xbox One PUBG for now".
But why is it so difficult for PUBG to come to PS4? According to Kim, it's down to Sony. While Steam and Microsoft offer early access programs for games, PlayStation doesn't. This requires any PS4 game to meet a certain standard - a standard that can't be met while the game is still in development.
"Early Access on Steam and Game Preview on Xbox One are like pre-release, so they don’t have a restriction on quality," said Kim. "However, [PlayStation] is very strict about this. There were cases where a game took six months more to launch even when it was already completed. We are still in the stage of learning the console development environment and console gamers’ taste. We need to think about other platforms after evaluating and completing the Xbox One version first."
PUBG Xbox One performance issues
Since the launch of PUBG on Xbox One on 12 December 2017, gamers have complained about shockingly low frame rates - as low as 17fps - and a myriad of bugs that plague the game. It comes as a shock to some, especially when you consider the backing that Microsoft has provided.
Bluehole Inc and Microsoft Studios have heard the criticism, and are releasing a handful of updates for console gamers that should help alleviate some of the biggest performance issues. The various patch notes claim that they include visual and performance improvements, alias fixes, animation glitch fixes, control bugs and more.
The most recent update, which hit the game on 8/1/2018, specifically targets frame rate improvements and introduces an aim accelerator slider, allowing gamers to adjust the aim sensitivity - a complaint since launch. The developer was keen to point out that given the number of issues with the port, this is likely to be the first of many updates, but it should start to improve the overall gameplay experience nonetheless.
It's still not a perfect experience though - there's still a substantial amount of lag when playing, even on the Xbox One X, and controls are a little unintuitive. The good news is that the team is working on it, and the quality of the Xbox One port should improve over time.
Miramar (new map)
PUBG is great fun - no one is saying it isn't - but there's only so long that you can play the game on the same map, and the developers know it too. That's why Bluehole has been working on a new map for PUBG, and it has finally been revealed following months of teasers.
The map is called Miramar, it's set in the desert, and provides a completely different environment to the lush greenery currently found in PUBG. It comes with areas of open desert, ghost towns and empty warehouses, all presenting new opportunities for PUBG players.
The map consists of eight main locations, but Bluehole has promised that there are other locations hidden out in the wilderness waiting to be discovered. The main locations in Miramar are:
- Los Leones
- El Pozo
- Monte Nuevo
- Valle del Mar
- La Cobreri
- San Martin
There are more details about each location available on the announcement on Steam, for those that want to find out more.
The most important question is: when do we get to play it? Right now. The new map was included in the 1.0 Update for PC users, and should also be accessible on Xbox One too.
Following the incredible success of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds on PC, the multiplayer shooter is set to make an appearance on smartphones soon. The catch? It'll only be available in China - initially, anyway. There are two in development - one developed by Timi Studio, which is said to offer an arcade-y version of the game for mobile users, while the full PUBG port is being handled by Tencent, the same company that is working on the localised version of the full game for the Chinese market.
Tencent company promises an "authentic" port of the core gameplay, although it's not clear yet how the fairly complex keyboard-and-mouse controls will translate to small mobile displays. Will mobile players be at a disadvantage playing against PC gamers? It seems to be the case, although Tencent has claimed that it's making "very good progress" on the mobile game and the mechanics.
But while Tencent's offering is yet to become available, footage has appeared on YouTube that seems to showcase PUBG Mobile gameplay - that is, the version developed by Timi Studio. There are many clips available on YouTube, but we've embedded one below for your ease of access. From the clip, we can see that it's an arcade-y remake of the popular battle royale game, rather than being the full PC port that is due. And, like the Xbox variant, it doesn't seem to offer much in the way of aim correction.
Either way, don't be disheartened that they're China-only games at launch - it seems unlikely to stay that way indefinitely. Looking on the App Store and Google Play, there are already plenty of PUBG clones that offer similar gameplay on a mobile display - and Bluehole would be crazy not to cash in on that interest, especially since it has kicked off the recent explosion of Battle Royale games.
Is PUBG down?
As with any online service, server downtime can cause issues worldwide - and that seems to be what happens with PUBG periodically, with players reporting connectivity issues around the world. It begs the question, how can you check the PUBG server status?
To check whether PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is down, you can check third-party service status websites like Down Detector. These crowd-sourced sites provide players with a way of letting each other know that there's an issue, and even provides features like a heat map to see if the outage is localised.
You can also check the PUBG Twitter account, as we imagine that'll be the way that developers communicate with fans about the server status.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is a massively multiplayer online battle royale game. In other words, it's a free-for-all, last-player-standing-style survival shooter. Starting from nothing, players have to find weapons and supplies in order to stay alive.
"From when I first started making the Battle Royale game-mode in ARMA 2, I have always wanted to make a good game. With Bluehole, and their philosophy of creating 'well made' games, I am confident that together we can create a great game," said Greene.
The official explanation of the game is this: "Players are dropped into a wide, open area, and they must fight to the death - all while the battlefield shrinks, adding pressure to all in its grip. Use a variety of interesting weapons and vehicles amid the Battlegrounds."
The game includes various weapons such as guns, bows and melee weapons. There are also items, equipment and vehicles including a speedboat. You'll also like Metro: Exodus.
You can play PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds solo but also as part of a team so you can come up with a strategy with friends. Up to 100 players can play in a battle royale in one go.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is played on a huge island map covering 8x8km with high levels of detail thanks to Unreal Engine 4. Epic Games, creators of the Unreal Engine, has released its own version of PUBG: Fortnite Battle Royale. To find out which is best, take a look at our PUBG vs Fortnite Battle Royale comparison.
In terms of the Xbox One variant of the game, one of the biggest noticeable differences will be in frame-rate - initially, anyway. While the PUBG devs were aiming for 60fps for the Xbox One variant of the hugely popular Battle Royale game, the game's creator Brendan Greene has said that it'll run at 30fps max regardless of whether you have a standard console or high-end Xbox One X.
Will this change? While no-one is sure, Greene has stated that Bluehole is “constantly refining the game and exploring options to increase FPS, but this early in dev, we’re unable to confirm more,”.
PUBG minimum PC specs
- OS: 64-bit Windows 7/8.1/10
- Processor: Intel Core i3-4340/AMD FX-6300
- Memory: 6GB RAM
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 2GB/AMD Radeon HD 7850 2GB
- DirectX: Version 11
- Network: Broadband Internet connection
- Storage: 30GB available space