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.
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.
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.
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.
No region locking
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.
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.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a 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 on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.