PUBG Mobile Makes Big Compromises to Run Smoothly

PUBG Mobile Makes Big Compromises to Run Smoothly

PUBG on phones eschews detailed textures, lighting effects, and other fattening features.

The news about Tencent porting PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds to mobile phones in China raised a few eyebrows. Mobile phones are deceptively powerful little machines, but at this time, PUBG can't run on Xbox One without problems. How can the number-one battle royale game in the world even hope to keep up on mobile?

The answer is pretty much what you'd expect. PUBG for mobile strips away every superfluous object and texture to ensure players can move with relative smoothness through an expansive overworld that otherwise matches its bigger cousin's maps almost perfectly.

Earlier today, Digital Foundry posted a breakdown of how PUBG mobile looks next to the PC and Xbox One X iterations of the game. Only the Erangel map is available on mobile (and the game is currently in beta), but all the landmarks are intact, and all the buildings can be interacted with.

Closer examination reveals a good deal of visual compromise, though. Building textures and geometry are much simpler on mobile. Houses lack windows and furniture. Touches like burnt-out cars and fences are mostly absent from the portable battlefield. Lighting effects are reduced. Framerates are generally slower, though performance might vary from platform to platform (Digital Foundry tested PUBG mobile on two Android phones: Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Razer. It's also available on iOS).

"Mobile is for textures, not fancy textures."

Draw distance is also shorter on mobile, and your field of vision is smaller. Plus, the game's controls are placed on-screen, which makes for some potentially hazardous blind spots. Digital Foundry points out faraway targets look a bit more muddied on mobile and can be mistaken for inanimate objects or clumps of grass.

Playing PUBG on mobile doesn't seem ideal, but it's interesting to see how Tencent compromised to make the game run on phones. I suppose there are worse ways to pass the time if you're stuck in a bank queue. Don't stress too hard over choosing between full-fat PUBG and PUBG mobile, though: PUBG mobile is a China-exclusive production.

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Nadia Oxford

Staff Writer

Nadia has been writing about games for so long, only the wind and the rain (or the digital facsimiles thereof) remember her true name. She's written for Nerve, About.com, Gamepro, IGN, 1UP, PlayStation Official Magazine, and other sites and magazines that sling words about video games. She co-hosts the Axe of the Blood God podcast, where she mostly screams about Dragon Quest.

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