Here's what PUBG will need to do to pull players back from Fortnite

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.

Fix the bugs and glitches


PUBG (Image credit: PUBG Corporation)

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.

Your thoughts

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.

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

  • To me Fortnite is more like overwatch, while PUBG is more like CS.
  • So you're just talking about the art style right? While you can compare PUBG and Fortnite because they have the same exact game mode you can't compare CS and Overwatch.
  • That's exactly what he is talking about. There is no denying fortnite is just more poliahed, and bug free (hence, less frustrating) to play. I do however prefer pubg for its art style and the attachments...however I am always disappointed at the state it is in on Xbox...I want it to be better than fortnite...but it just isn't.
  • I think if they lower the cost, remove the paid MTX's, ramp up development (especially on Xbox), and ban China, it'll get back on top.
  • Just don't made it LIKE Fortnite.
  • I like PUBG better, its more realistic, harder to stay alive and way less forgiving. I would also like to piont out that Fortnite is a game from a AAA developer with waaaaaaayyy more resources than those who made PUGB. I think its more because of the “free” aspect than anything.
  • That may be true, but in my opinion that divide is somewhat mitigated by the fact PUBG has been out significantly longer. Regardless of the developer situations, the game is the game and I’m simply viewing the games through a consumer’s lens. PUBG’s issues may be excusable to a degree but they’re still causing issues, y’know?
  • >They should let users to choose map in lobby and release night mode in the erangel or Miramar or even 3rd map
    >And also add feature to find crate keys(as treasure) in the whole map instead of buying one
  • Yeah...choosing the map is a great idea (sarcasm). Tell me, do you WANT longer matchmaking? Because that's what will happen. You are fragmenting the player base...halving it to be precise.
  • I'd play PUBG if it were free
  • I would drive a Bugatti if it were free.
  • He has a point though. If you're going to have free2play economics shouldn't the game be free?
  • They really need to fix the frame rate and rendering in pubg......quickly. the last update apparently made it run even worse on the One X than it does on my OG One. It was all over reddit when the update was pushed. Not sure if they have pushed anything recently since I haven't played it in a while. I hate fortnite. Too cartoony and total BS when someone builds a staircase to nowhere and kills everyone with a rocket launcher from atop Mount Olympus. The building aspect immediately turned me off fortnite. I tried a few time and uninstalled it.
  • Those are the two aspects that keep me from Fortnite: Childish, cartoonish graphics, and BS mechanics tied to building.
  • Awww. U mad cos you can't build defenses? Too hard for you I guess.
  • They're mad because FORTNITE took the lead in player base from PUBG.
  • You guessed wrong. Hahaha, its just not a game for All!
  • I totally agree! I have played Fortnite but its just not for me. I don't play overwatch or games like that. I like more realistic graphics and gameplay.
  • PUBG needs to optimise the engine and give us stable 60fps. All shooter games require a fluid motion. "Up-to-30" is not enough, Fortnite just proved it.
  • Performance. It's Day Z all over again. A engine which is not the right choice for the game with really bad optimization. And I'm talking about the PC version.
  • I get around 90% cpu usage too often too, it's insanely unoptimized.
  • Most people just play Fortnite because being similar enough, it's free. You can't do much against that.
  • It's Free and less bugs well -_-, no matter how good PUBG art it is, if it is don't work right ppl will leave it
  • Meh, I wouldn't play Fornite at all if PUBG didn't exist, its a matter of taste in game style.
  • I was talking to a friend of mine who has played PUBG and Fortnite, to summarise our conversation: "Fortnite is more fun and PUBG is about laying prone on the grass but shooting is better on PUBG". Basically he is saying PUBG is more competitive and has increasingly turned into a camp and snipe which is the most boring element of FPS games. Camping and sniping is what puts many people off playing FPS games online. PUBG needs to add less serious modes for those who don't want to play a competitive brawl especially due to those who camp and snipe. I suppose the only way to mitigate that to a certain extent is a map randomiser. Also they could add lower another wall from above as to stop people hogging up high places with good vantage points. If it's just a handful of maps, those who camp and snipe will always look for high ground or birds nest then always bee line for that every match. Plus imposing a time penalty when you are laying prone on the grass won't work. What happens when you are trying to escape a large group of players and you have no ammo or weapons. A time penalty whilst prone will limit your options. Though I suppose being forced into a combative situation on PUBG will cause for some funny moments as well as frustrating ones. In terms of variations, how about a mode where you have to use nothing but frying pans for example, that would be pretty darn hilarious. Or playing bumper cars on a map with narrow roads on cliffs etc.
  • I don't know what it's like on the Xbox, but for me, the biggest thing missing is an offline shooting range for me to practice my long range marksmanship. I'm just a casual player who likes to play with friends, and when I finally get my sniper rifle, I rarely get very long to practice with it before I'm dead. If there was a shooting range where I could practice, it would greatly increase my confidence in the game, not to mention my enjoyment (by reducing my frustration). How hard could that be? I don't care about a third map, Bluehole, I want somewhere I can try out all the weapons and get better!
  • Uggh, playing PUBG tonight on xbox and got server kicked or crashed. 7 or 8 times. 😒
  • Just curious, Xbox one X, S, or the Original? And also, how's your connection? I don't experience that at all. It does crash but maybe 1 or 2 times in a couple days. The worst part for me is the Rubber banding, especially in the first few minutes of the game. I have to say I love this game! I'm not great at it but it is so much fun solo and even better with friends!
  • More significant updates more often and I'm happy. I would love for them to up the frame rate on Xbox one to help with the shooting and targeting because right now it's awful
  • The update frequency is CRUCIAL for the game experience to feel good. I get tired of stupid glitching issues getting me killed. Sitting at 0.5.31 isn't a good look for the game when its competitor is far-and-away more polished in every way. I love the game and will keep playing it, but I'm beginning to feel some fatigue with it. We're on week 11 now for the game since launch, so they've got maybe another 4-6 weeks before I start not caring about playing much anymore. It's unfortunate that people had to pay for a pre-release game. They should have made it free or $10 and offered a discount on the final version of the game (maybe make it another $10) once it exits beta. It would be a great way to reward the players but get people in early for a cheap price. I paid the $30 because I hope this game gets to where I think it can be, but before long Battlefield will be out and other shooters will surface that offer scaled shooting experiences with dramatically better execution. PUBG needs to hustle. The detail someone else offered up for the PC variant was that it went from tough-sledding to 1.0 very quickly, so it could be that update 9 may be the last "small fix" patch and each subsequent update will bring dramatic improvements to gameplay, content offering, and performance/stability. I hope that's the case for Xbox.
  • Microsoft should buy PUBG rather than Xbox becoming a beta for its multiplatform release (i.e. Titanfall). Microsoft owned it then they would have access to a lot more development resources.
  • Is PUBG even truly recoverable? Not an expert in regards to game development, but how many patches and fixes can a developer throw at a game? Tried to play PUBG today on the X while fornite was down, performance was dramatically worse from one month ago.