When discussing 2017's biggest gaming hits, it's impossible not to mention Playerunknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), a battle royale shooter that seemingly came out of nowhere. The game was a critical success, becoming one of Steam's all time best-sellers, even managing to have over three million players online at one time. It dominated both Twitch and Mixer for quite a long time, too, and was even nominated for Game of the Year in the 2017 Game Awards.
However, as time has passed, the game's popularity has begun to fall off. Its player base is by all definitions healthy, but ever since the release of Fortnite Battle Royale, a free-to-play battle royale game from Epic Games, many of PUBG's fans have flocked to the new title. Here's how PUBG can win them back.
One of the major criticisms that has been levied against PUBG since the day it released is that it's notoriously buggy and broken. Every type of performance issue, ranging from framerate drops to rendering issues, is known to frequently happen in PUBG. While it was patched up somewhat for the game's full release from Early Access last December, the game is still often a glitchy mess. The Xbox One version in particular is still quite horrendous for many players, particularly if you're not on the Xbox One X.
This is an issue that Fortnite simply doesn't have. While there's an occasional issue here and there, Fortnite is far and away a much more polished and stable product than PUBG is. Because of that, the gameplay feels cleaner and smoother, and a positive experience with the technical aspects of a game can often be what keeps people playing.
Add more content variety
One of my favorite things about Fortnite Battle Royale is that the developers frequently introduce cool new ways to make the gameplay experience feel fresh. Whether its 50 versus 50 wars, a mode with explosives only, or new locations to visit in the map, it always feels like there's something new in Fortnite.
PUBG has done an okay job at this with the new weapons and new map they've added, but every game still feels the same. While it's true that you can set up custom games in PUBG, it would be nice for the developers to dedicate some resources to take the popular modes people create in them and bring them to matchmaking servers.
Make improvements faster
Fixing up the performance woes and adding in more content variety are both things that will be a big help to PUBG in the long run, but it's critical that it doesn't take too long for those two things to happen. It seems that as each day passes, PUBG is losing more and more players to its free and stable cousin, Fortnite. If these two major flaws in the game aren't solved soon, it might eventually be too late.
Of course, this is just speculation, and PUBG's current performance in the market is far from being poor. That being said, I don't believe that its a coincidence that PUBG is losing players and Fortnite is gaining them simultaneously. PUBG's population loss may just be a trickle for now, but the question is this: how long before people leave the game in boatloads because of the issues that have yet to be addressed satisfyingly?
When there's a cheaper (free), more stable, and more content-rich battle royale game just around the corner, the choice about which to play will be an easy one for gamers to make.
What do you think PUBG needs to change in order to pull players back from Fortnite? Let me know.
PUBG is available for $29.99 on Steam and Xbox One, and Fortnite Battle Royale is free.
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