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.