Battle royale is unquestionably the breakout gaming genre of the last couple of years, and PUBG is where it all began.
Last year, PUBG Corporation and Tencent brought PUBG to mobile with the pragmatically named PUBG MOBILE, and that game has just achieved two significant milestones that its publisher is understandably keen to shout about.
First, PUBG MOBILE has now been downloaded 400 million times worldwide. And second, it can boast 50 million daily active users, which means an audience the size of Columbia is playing it every single day.
If you’re one of the few people who don’t know about PUBG already, here’s a little primer. PUBG is an acronym of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and it started life as a mod for ARMA 2.
Created by Brendan Green – aka PlayerUnknown – the mod took inspiration from the 2000 cult Japanese film Battle Royale, in which a number of high school students are forced to fight to the death on an island.
The game sees 100 players doing exactly that: parachuting onto an 8x8km island and battling it out to become the last person standing. As the round progresses the playable area on this island contracts in stages, so that by the end the remaining combatants are within each other’s crosshairs.
PUBG originally came out on PC, with all of the advantages that PC gaming brings: plenty of power and easy-to-use keyboard and mouse controls. Somehow, PUBG Corporation and Tencent managed to reproduce every iota of this slick playability on smartphone.
The islands are there in full, with all of the hills, trees, buildings, stones, open areas, and other physical and topographical features required for a tactically rich bout of online carnage.
Even the more advanced aspects of the PC version have been retained, such as bullet flight time, bullet trajectory straining, and sideways shooting. Not only that, but new touchscreen-specific features have been added, like 4D touch and gyroscope-powered aim controls.
The considerable efforts of PUBG Corporation and Tencent have borne fruit not just in the form of a huge player base but in awards too. PUBG MOBILE has been universally praised by critics, and it won the Mobile Game of the Year Award and the 2018 Golden Joysticks, along with a handful of Google Play awards.