Why PUBG for mobile is a really bad idea

By , on November 27, 2017
Last modified 6 years, 7 months ago

Update: It's just been announced that PUBG actually is coming to mobile. You can read about that by clicking here. You'll need to know Chinese or translate the page to get the gist of things though. Anyway, the point still stands - but now you can read this article in a prescient new light.


Well it's Thursday, and usually I like to write some content on Thursday. So that's exactly what I'm going to do. In fact, I'm doing it right now. Do you see? This is the content that I am creating for you. Consider yourselves blessed. Blessed by this wondrous content.

If you have even the slightest interest in videogames then you've probably heard people mentioning PUBG. In layman's terms that's PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, a battle royale game that's eating up time and money over on Steam.

There have been attempts to bring similar style games to mobile, and while there have been some valiant-ish attempts, none of them have really worked. And that got me thinking. And when I get to thinking I write things down. Things like this.

Why PUBG will never work on mobile

There are several things that a game like PUBG needs to work properly. Perhaps one of the most important of those is time. It's the sort of game that people literally sink days into. I know. I have been to their houses. I have smelt them after a session.

And time isn't something that mobile gaming really offers. Sure you can play for hours, but it's not comfortable. Your phone is probably going to run out of battery. Someone at work is going to bash on the toilet cubicle door and ask what in the name of all that's holy are you even doing in there.

Mobile games work better as smash and grab bites of entertainment. Or, if they're going to try and extend the time you play with them, they're going to need to be much better optimised. Like The Room, for example.

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Another thing that PUBG-style games need is controls. I mean, let's not beat around the bush here. There are some shooters on mobile that just about work, but we'd all rather have a nice controller or mouse and keyboard in our hands.

Success demands precision. It demands that you can be sure when you poke something, the desired action is going to happen. You can cram as many virtual buttons on to a mobile phone screen as you like, but it's not going to offer sort of exacting reaction that games like this need.

Thirdly, battle royale games need stability. They can last an hour at a time, if you're playing with a decent team or group of strangers. And since mobile relies on wireless connections, at best you're going to have to be near a wireless router for that whole game.

At worst you're going to wander out of signal range, catch on to some dog-eared 3G network and die an inglorious death that you don't even get to see. And that doesn't sound like the sort of thing that people are going to be queuing up to experience.

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In the end, the best mobile games are the ones that are built from the ground up with the platform in mind. The ones that make the best use of the limitations of the hardware, flipping them round so they actually become strengths.

PUBG is a PC game, through and through. I'm sure there are people out there baulking at the idea of playing it on consoles. Perhaps this is just one of those genres that mobile devs should steer clear of, unless they intend to come up with something truly revolutionary. And obviously, we'd love to see that.