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Why is PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds still getting bad reviews?

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is a highly addictive experience, but the incredibly popular game is losing support and continues to draw negative attention to bad performance, hacking, and a lack of region locking. It's why the game continues to receive mixed reviews on the Steam store, and why Fornite has really shot up in popularity.

There are a few reasons why the battle royale game isn't doing too well in the eyes of gamers.

See at GMG (Steam) (opens in new tab)

Performance issues

PUBG

When version 1.0 of PUBG released on PC at the end of 2017 it was nowhere near complete. Not even close. The performance was horrific at times, the new map wasn't fully optimized, and it simply wasn't as polished as competitor titles. It took a supercomputer just to play the game at a stable frame rate, and that wasn't helping with rubberbanding (when the game jolts your character slightly due to inconsistencies between the server and client) and other network issues.

Still, to this day the performance in PUBG isn't quite where it should be.

One could argue that the development team (or the Chinese Tencent overlords) desired to have the game out ahead of the festive holidays and capitalize on Game of the Year award potential. A counter is that this is solely an online experience, which it is, and as such should be treated along the same lines of a Massive Multiplayer Online title like League of Legends or World of Warcraft. These are all different beasts, but even a game as successful as League of Legends has had its issues in the past.

PUBG

PUBG was rated favorably from the start, but at launch people became fed up and tired of issues at hand.

What separates a game like PUBG to other online games is the lack of a subscription. You're charged a full price for simply gaining access to game, and as such should expect a complete package. On the plus side, the PUBG Corp. crew are working on additional content, features and stability improvements, but the damage has already been done, which was reflected in reviews, including our own.

Even Colton "Viss" Visser, a professional PUBG player for TSM recently spoke on his stream about the performance difference between playing online with the general public and on a LAN at competitions. It's still that bad. It's further compounded by an issue that a portion of the community raises on a regular basis: players connecting to servers in different regions.

PUBG could eventually become a great esport

No region locking

PUBG

Region locking would keep American players on U.S. servers, European players on European servers, and Chinese players on China-based servers. This isn't the case and many — and I mean many — complaints have been voiced at PUBG Corp. due to Chinese players opting to play on Western servers and everybody experiencing substantial lag as a result (the internet is fast, but there are still physical distances to contend with).

Apparently, region locking is coming to PUBG even though creator Brendan Greene previously went on record saying that the feature doesn't help in combatting cheating, lag and other issues that come with players opting for servers in different regions. If the company does decide to implement region locking, it may be but a plaster on the wound or a brand new drug with 100 percent success rate. Time will only tell.

PUBG

With all its faults and the issues I've laid out in this article, which pains me as I've raised them on previous occasions, PUBG remains to be a very popular game. Fortnite is taking the number one spot on streaming platforms at times, but for me personally (and others I've spoken to) it's just not the same viewing experience. There isn't the story and journey being relayed to the audience; instead it's a whole lot of jumping and ramp building.

Drawing in millions of concurrent players across multiple platforms — including mobile now, which ironically runs better — PUBG is nothing short of a massive success, but there's stil la long way to go.

See at GMG (Steam) (opens in new tab)

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

15 Comments
  • PUBG does have a lot of issues with it but I do see that they are working on them. I just can't get into Fortnite.
  • I tried playing it, I immediately disliked the graphic style, I couldn't get over it. I didn't like the building mechanic at all either. I think it's not the kind of shooting game I want to play where faced with an enemy a few feet away they begin building a tower in seconds to hide from you, it's rather silly. The other thing that I couldn't get past is the whole F2P vibe, it feels really cheap.
  • I agree with the randomly building walls and towers to hide, I feel like that wasn't the intended use of the building function. I don't mind the graphics or free-to-play vibe, in fact that's what made me be like hey why not I'll try it out.
  • I don't totally dislike cartoony colorful graphics, in fact, Sea of Thieves has that going on and I like it (even though SoT doesn't look as cheap as Fortnite). It's just that I don't think that this graphic style fits the Battle Royale gameplay. In PUBG the more realistic and even grittier graphic style helps with the mood and tension of the game.
  • For the most part you can play Fortnite for free, big advantage there for a start.
  • Two completely different games, I don't know why people insist on comparing the two just because one contains a similar game mode.
  • Although I like the idea of PUBG (the world, weapons, verhicles, no building, …) better than Fortnite's take on Battle Royale, the unstable performance of PUBG made me switch to Fortnite for now. It's not completely different games btw. OK, Fortnite has a PVE mode but the majority is on the PvP mode and that made the game so popular (and it being free).
  • I find the region locking development hilarious. Ppl hate it in everything else like consoles and other products but here is where it's essential and required. We wonder why companies have trouble, ppl are absurd and ridiculous! Lmao 😅
  • Exactly. Region locking can actually hinder players when there's fewer players in their region.
  • Doesn't PUBG have pseudo region locking by grouping people with similar pings together?
  • Fortnite is only having more success because it's free. With all its flaws, PUBG is still a better game.
  • For once I agree with you fdruid
  • In the end with all that is written. PUBG is still the better experience where growing personal and team skill and winning matters to players. Winning in Fortnite just feels meh who cares cause its heavily focused on shotguns and bunny hopping. When u get that, u did something wrong making the game Imo.
  • Exactly. In Fortnite any win or kill comes second to the coin-gathering progression pushed by the F2P model. Feels hollow too. When coin gathering and buying cosmetics is put above the game experience, you have a shallow game.
  • PUBG is boring.