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Why PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) is so damn addictive

I am terrible at PUBG. Absolutely appalling, both on PC and Xbox. I don't get "chicken dinners," I have the aim of a potato, and more than any other game in 2017, this thing causes me to rage, swear and throw my controller.

So why on earth would I, like millions of others, keep on playing it when frankly, in most games I'd have given up by now and moved on? What is it about PUBG that sucks you back in?

There are a couple of things that I can think of.

PUBG competition, chicken and bragging rights

PUBG

Gamers are pretty competitive people. We don't like to lose. We must beat every game and everyone who plays it. It's a Batman and Joker kind of relationship.

Because of its very nature, PUBG has become one of the most competitive games released in recent times. Dropping in with 99 other players, either alone or squadding up with your buddies, emerging victorious is an achievement.

It also leads to serious stat-cravings. Folks are grinding leaderboards and chasing numbers. PUBG gives you three ratings: Overall, win and kill. You just have to get inside the top 50 in your region, right? RIGHT?

It's not something I care about (which is a good thing, since I suck), but it's very easy to see how one could get swept up in the endless competition. If you stop playing to, you know, go to sleep, you'll probably wake up and have lost a bunch of places on the leaderboard.

So you jump back in, ever chasing a seemingly never-ending goal. But the millions and millions of people playing PUBG can't all be obsessed with leaderboards and winning, right?

PUBG can be HILARIOUS

PUBG

I'd wager what keeps a lot of people playing is the sheer hilarity that can ensue during a round of PUBG. The map is so huge, and there are so many players and things to explore, that something funny is almost bound to happen every time you play.

And that's why I keep going back. Because for all the rage over being sniped from an unknown spot something else will happen that's a true "WTF" moment that'll have me laughing my head off. It's not just me, either. If you watch almost any of the big PUBG streamers, they'll come across similar moments.

https://twitter.com/Ricker666/status/943188319827095552

How can you be mad when you manage to run yourself over with a bike? Or come across one or more players who have clearly gone to the toilet or something and are just sitting ducks? And frankly, you haven't played PUBG if you haven't been barrel rolling through the air in a Dacia.

https://twitter.com/Ricker666/status/943937271333572609

Yes, there's a huge competitive scene that has developed around PUBG. But those players are probably still in the minority. For the rest of us, it's one of the most fun games you can play if you don't take it so seriously.

Sometimes, not winning is still fun.

Why do you play PUBG?

It's the most played brand new title of 2017. There are still more people playing things like League of Legends or Call of Duty, but on Steam, where PUBG is available exclusively on PC, it's untouchable right now. And millions have jumped into the Xbox One game preview as well.

So lots of folks are playing. And lots are coming back. So why do you play? Are you the leaderboard grinder? Or the kill hunter or the player that will team up with some friends and have some laughs? Let us know in the comments below.

And if you've yet to sample it, what are you waiting for? The game is available properly on PC now, while the Xbox One version is still in its early game preview phase. Hit the links below to grab a copy.

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

15 Comments
  • I don't.  At first, I thought I might, but then there's too much 3rd person stuff.  I only do FPS.
  • There will be a first-person mode eventually. Just like on PC.
  • It already has first-person aspects.  But, as I understand it, servers can force one perspective or the other, which is bad as far as I'm concerned.   I used to play a lot of Day of Defeat, Call of Duty, Counterstrike.  While those games could get chaotic, PUBG seems to be much more so....like team deathmatches without any real goal.  Even as an FPS, I find deathmatches to be boring and pointless.  That's probably why I got tired of Titanfall (most available servers were just running the deathmatch type modes) and I wasted my money completely on TF2.  I'm also not a fan of the whole "shrinking map" thing.  Like I said, at first PUBG looked promising, but the more I learned about it, the more 'meh' I got about it.  I can see why many find it addicting, though.  If you're very competitive and get off on the whole "last man standing" thing, it's good for that.  I prefer either having the option to go off and completely do my own thing (which is one reason I enjoy Elite Dangerous so much) or there's a team-based goal (which is why Day of Defeat was always one of my favorites).
  • This is why I play Battlefield.
  • I can't figure out how to get it to go First Person when I am scoped in (left trigger). I have done it once and I am not sure how I did it. As far as the shrinking map. They had to with maps that size. Matches could go on way too long if people were left to just hang out wherever they want.
  • It's RB for the first person mode, and tapping the left trigger (not holding) to aim down the sight. The more you know! :)
  • I own it on Xbox One X and while it is addictive, the console/Preview version is still plagued with so many lag/rubberbanding/clipping/pop in/pop out/subpar graphics/horrible hitbox detection/aiming issues that its unbelievably annoying.
  • It's a great distraction from Destiny 2 on XB1X. Just learned how to use free roam panning while running. Nice. Made it to top 10 several times, sometimes with only a hand gun. Won a Chicken Dinner too! You should have heard me hooting.
  • And apparently that's all this site has to write about. This article was the last straw for me. I'm unsubbing from you in my news feed. I guess I'll get my actual Windows news from Verge or Engadget. You should really just change the name of this site to pubgcentral and get it over with. 
  • Insert goodbye gif here
  • They need to hype this as long as it's on a MS platform... Once it releases on PS, news article here will disappear... We have PS fan site like playstationlifestyle reporting when XB1 wins NPD. On this site, important NPD sales of november doesn't get an article while random Amazon sales stats gets news article because it facours a certain company/brand. You can see the mentallity of the two sites really. One is here to promote a brand/company, the other is to inform it's readers... :)  
  • I don't really think this is a great game but it is fun ocassionally.  It's so rough around the edges, on both platforms.  It's hard for me to enjoy given the input lag or overall lag.  Yes, I know it's a Game Preview but it's hard for me to enjoy when Fortnite is available for free.  The vehicle mechanics are hilariously bad.  Water and grass go through the bottom of your vehicle, they control like garbage, and they just shouldn't work...but they end up adding to what can be a pretty hilarious game session. My kids don't even notice the input lag but it's difficult for me to jump through windows or even open doors quickly.
  • Nope, no interest in this game at all. I have pretty much quit online / multiplayer gaming in the last few years. I used to go crazy over Team Fortress Classic (usually in the top 3 in most matches), Unreal Tournament 2004 when it was the big cheese, Red Orchestra Mod/Ostfront/2, Day of Defeat/Source, and a pile more. I think what did it for me was Rust. Played it for a long time, modded a few servers, enjoyed it for a while, but it was essentially pointless and repetitive. Other players coming on while you are away or asleep and destroy piles of work you put in, walking around minding your own business when suddenly everybody wants you dead. It all just became a chore with little enjoyment. Being a father and working a lot, I don't have the free time like I used to be able to waste in MP games. I just prefer single player games these days. I'm tired of having to hand hold others, or join when they need help, or having others ruin my plans. I just want to get back to playing a game the way I want to play without others screwing it up or me having to do what they say, or follow whatever dumb rules people decide to follow on any given server. Give me games like Deus Ex, The Long Dark, No Man's Sky, GTA, Zelda, Watch_Dogs, etc. Some of these examples may not be perfect, but at least I can enjoy them as I see fit without having to cater to others.
  • I don't.  I thought I was gonna be all over it.  That's the main reason to get the Xbox one X.  For the performance increase.  However, it's not as fun, even after the patches.      FortNite seems to have a real hold on me.   I enjoy playing it.  Even my son started playing.  Called me today on his first win in squad.   
  • I suck at this game on with a controller, but it seems so does EVERYONE, and the lag is just hilarious. Plus, who doesn't like spending hours with your mates in a squad, looting houses, tactically stealthing to points within the circle, only to then die from a sniper headshot and have like 1 game kill but finish in the top 10 somehow haha.
    It's just a fun Tom Clancy's game for me without the tactical dedication Splinter Cell required! 😂