PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds Xbox One keyboard support exposes low graphics settings

Earlier this week PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG), this year's biggest success in PC gaming, made its console debut with an exclusive Xbox One release. In collaboration with Microsoft Studios, the game has been reworked with controllers in mind, delivering near identical content to its PC counterpart.

While PUBG's goodwill has resulted in a wave of interest on Xbox One, questions have been raised over the quality of the current port. With poor performance across both Xbox One and Xbox One X consoles, the game fails to consistently hit its target frame rate and generally lacks the graphical fidelity expected from current generation consoles. This can be mostly excused due to its in-progress nature via the "Game Preview" program, but still doesn't deliver a great first impression to new buyers.

Inquisitive players have now begun to experiment with the game's Xbox One port, discovering that despite being released for a console, remnants of its PC version still linger. Upon plugging in a keyboard, PUBG will recognize key presses as valid inputs, allowing the game to be partially controlled without a gamepad in hand.

PUBG for Xbox One is unique and intense, but rough around the edges

After some brief experimentation ourselves, PUBG on Xbox One allows players to walk, crouch and perform other movements with a keyboard, using the same default key bindings seen on PC. Hotkeys for weapons and items also translate, quickly equipping weapons, equipment, and healing items. Though without official mouse support, a controller is ultimately still necessary to play the game.

Nevertheless, things get a little more interesting exploring the key bindings on Xbox One, with the "O" key displaying a very familiar menu to PC players. Opening up the game's graphical settings from the PC version, this menu provides an insight into how the game's Xbox One port has been achieved – and the results aren't that pretty.

According to the settings page, PUBG runs at native 1080p on standard Xbox One consoles, but to achieve this, sacrifices texture quality and anti-aliasing, with both set to "Very Low." The results aren't extraordinary on Xbox One X either, pushing for native 4K while utilizing "Medium" textures and anti-aliasing. And following a recent analysis on the title from Digital Foundry, it seems likely that these menus are reflective of in-game rendering.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds graphics settings menu, running on Xbox One.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds graphics settings menu, running on Xbox One.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds graphics settings menu, running on Xbox One X.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds graphics settings menu, running on Xbox One X.

Sadly, there doesn't appear to be a way to navigate further through this menu, so we're unable to view other options for the Xbox One version. If anything, this proves that PUBG is heavily prioritizing resolution on Xbox One, sacrificing other graphical settings in order to achieve its target. Native 1080p and 4K are clearly taxing for both machines in the game's current state, assumedly dragging the framerate in the process.

Microsoft has been keen to stress that it's worked to optimize PUBG for the Xbox platform, but it should be noted that these settings don't translate one-to-one between platforms. Some heavy work is still required to reach a polished state, with PC optimization seemingly in a much better place at this point in time.

With the Xbox One version only recently having released, seeing these early hiccups doesn't come as a surprise. Microsoft has clearly advertised that these versions of the games are in-progress projects, and issues are to be expected ahead of launch. If anything, this provides an unexpected insight into the porting process used for PUBG, showing how the PC version translates under the hood, and the cutbacks on Xbox One hardware.

Going forward, some crucial questions hang above PUBG on Xbox One. While the game's unstable state can be excused for now, how drastically the game will improve over the coming months is yet to be seen. What are your thoughts on the game's Xbox One version so far? Make sure to drop into the comments and share your thoughts.

Matt Brown

Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.

  • It's a game preview. Give it time.
  • Yup!!
  • Yes it is a game preview, but they should at least make it ******* WORK before releasing it and selling it for $30. It literally doesn’t ******* work at all and crashes every time I play. If I could I would get a mother ******* refund.
  • It's entirely possible that GPU performance tuning hasn't been done yet, and that most of the port work so far had focused on CPU optimizations or just general stability. If my guess is correct, then a good performance boost can be expected with GPU tuning.
  • Makes me thing of Halo and Halo Anniversary, looks like three generations appart, same console, they just needed how to figure out how to optimize stuff
  • Not surprising. Xbox one X owners didn't want to hear it, but it was never gonna perform brilliantly on console. It's hard to get a good frame rate with higher settings on a PC running a 1080ti. The xbonex is powerful, but it's not magic.
  • I just think its silly that 4K is a primary. I get its a preview but damn I'd rather have better graphics first and solid fps.
  • I wouldn't call Game Preview participants "new buyers". They know what they're in for.
  • I wish I could agree with you, but seeing the comments on Facebook makes me question that. I think some people believe have preview is a glorified demo and nothing more. We, of course, know otherwise.
  • Honestly, even though that seems reasonable, that's not really the case. They're even selling boxed copies on shelves right now, which I'm sure will result in a few disappointments over the holiday period.
  • The optimisation on this game is absolutely horrendous currently, this is not urngat all. Maybe companies should go back to finishing games before they release hem to the public, just a thought.
  • After all the hype I would have expected better. When games like Assassins Creed origins look so good with a huge open world how can this be so poor, it isn't even that graphically intense..titanfall 2, destiny 2 and the aforementioned assassins creed all look like several generations ahead. I realise it's game preview and in progress but to me it just smacks if sloppy pc ports. The xbox and xbox x should easily be able to provide a proper experience, I'm sure the next update will fix frame rate issues and texture quality. If not, very short lived hype and pointless (timed) exclusivity
  • Considering how the game started out on PC, when you could drive around and then suddenly get out your car (instantly dieing) just look at the previous WinCentral remarks on the game. Probably one of the greatest graphical problems they have is that its a PC port of Nvidia gameworks, running on AMD made Xbox. However this should pay dividends for AMD on the pc side trying to get better optimisation. What interests me is that they stated the game is 50gb in download, yet the pc release is only 8gb fully installed? Also the comment about Sassy Creed, ubisoft is considerably larger than the PUBG team, who were until this year unknown. But also Sassy Creed doesn't have vehicles (horses don't count) and they haven't been using pretty much the same game engine for 4 years? Remember the horrendous glitches of Sassy Creed Syndicate? (Where they game didn't render peoples faces, just their eyes?) The biggest shame of this, is that they should only have made the game in preview available for download, not hard copy, as then at least only people that knew what they were getting into would buy it, rather than it being bought as a present.
  • The problem isn't just that its a bad port, but that Bluehole is a terrible development company that can't get it's act together, from graphics, to stability, to cheating. They are prioritizing money over actual gameplay and performance. PC users have had to deal with this bullshit for years, and this looks like it could set a precedent on consoles too. Don't buy this game. The only alpha worth buying (at least on PC) is The Forest, which has a small but dedicated team. I doubt PUBG will ever be fully optimized at this point.