One of the most surprising announcements made during the Microsoft press conference was that the PC phenomenon, Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, would be coming to Xbox One. After the trailer ended, I immediately texted Â my friends to let them know that we would be playing the game when it launched. A few of them already own the popular title on PC but agreed to purchase the console version as well. While Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds is one of my most anticipated games of the year, I don’t think that the game will do well on consoles.
There is no denying that Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds is a popular game. Since it launched three months ago, 4 million copies have been sold on Steam. The PC community for PUBG is massive and surely the development team and Microsoft believe that bringing the game to consoles will result in a surefire hit. Unfortunately, I don’t think that this will be the case. First off, since this is an indie title, I don’t have overwhelming confidence in its servers.
Just last month, the highly anticipated Friday The 13th: The Game launched alongside a multitude of problems. It was tough to find a match and the servers were having issues for more than a week. While there are great features on Xbox One like “Looking For Groups” which help resolve these problems, it’s still unfortunate to not have a stable video game to play. To top it off, the Xbox One version of Friday The 13th: The Game seemed to take a backseat to the PlayStation 4 and PC versions.
Here’s an excerpt from Windows Central regarding the launch version of Friday The 13th.
Since these launch issues, it’s now come to light that Friday the 13th’s Xbox One owners are running an older (and inferior) version of the game. As pointed out by a user on the official Friday the 13th forums, both PC and PlayStation 4 versions currently sport different assets and even some minor new features, leaving the Xbox One version as a clearly second-rate version. Founder and Creative Director at Gun, Wes Keltner, has since confirmed the game is yet to receive an approved day one patch, which brings the game up to a state they planned for launch. Although some of these issues may have been out of the developer’s control, the game isn’t rocking the best reputation right now.
Game Rant also wrote a news piece where the writer indicated the Xbox One received the matchmaking patch 2 weeks after the PlayStation 4 version was fixed.
Gun Media is now in a better position to maintain parity between the three versions of Friday the 13th: The Game that are available. This update was already issued to the PlayStation 4 version of the game, and similarly the day one patch took longer to reach the Xbox One than either of the other two platforms.
Larger development studios can handle a problem in a shorter amount of time compared to a smaller team. Let’s be honest, a studio will prioritize fixing problems on a platform where more players are consuming their game. In the case of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, more gamers will always play on PC over the Xbox One. Regardless of how many people purchase the console version, the number will never reach the heights of the PC (but if the PC version is already out, won’t it give them the resources to put all their time at launch on fixing the Xbox version?).
I really don’t want to be playing the “inferior” version of Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds. Paladins and Smite, two free-to-play games from the talented developers at Hi-Rez Studios, come to mind when I think of games that feel “lesser” on Xbox One. Some of my closest friends are primarily PC players. I’ve been told on numerous occasions that the PC version had gotten newer Gods (playable characters) before the console version. With that being said, the Xbox One version of Smite is always running on an earlier patch compared to what gamers on the PC are playing.
Another reason why I don’t think Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds will succeed on Xbox One is because there are so many games that will be released later this year. Think about it, many Xbox One owners will want to play exclusives. We know that PUBG will launch in the Fall, but from September until the end of the year, there are quite a few games published by Microsoft that will be hitting the market. September will see the launch of the highly anticipated Cuphead, Forza Motorsport 7 will be released in October, while Super Lucky’s Tale and Crackdown 3 will hit store shelves in November. If you’re an Xbox One owner like myself, there’s a good chance that these games are on your radar. Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds will launch during one of those months although a date has not been given yet.
Additionally, AAA games such as Destiny 2, Call of Duty: WW2, and Star Wars Battlefront will be available this fall. Each of these games feature heavy multiplayer components that draws in a large crowd. Also, the Xbox One X will be released on November 7th. The console, which will provide 4K gaming (native 4K, checkboarding, or “enhanced” visuals) will make high profile games look stellar. Even though PUBG provides a fun experience, it looks a little rough around the edges. That doesn’t bother me, but there is always an argument online regarding 1080P/60FPS. Gamers obviously want to experience a fantastic looking video game and I don’t think that console gamers will choose to play PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds compared to some of the blockbusters with better visuals.
Multiplayer-only video games are a tough sell on consoles. Gamers tend to jump around when a new title is released. Before my friends and I started playing Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege religiously, we would usually switch games every month. Keeping a dedicated fanbase is difficult. As a fan of Friday The 13th, I’m upset that it takes a very long time to find a match. Since it just launched a few weeks ago, I find it concerning that not many people are playing the game. This is unfortunate because without a community, that game will “die” quickly. Battleborn and Evolve are other instances of entertaining games that just couldn’t find their footing. Each of these titles launched with such promise, but crashed and burned quickly. Since Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds is a multiplayer-only video game, I’m not hopeful that the community will stick around for the long run based on the track records from other highly publicized video games.
While I seem negative towards Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds coming to Xbox One, I am actually very excited for the popular video game to come to consoles. Even though I can purchase the game on PC, the fact that I can’t use a keyboard and mouse (due to physical issues) means that I would be at a disadvantage because of my controller usage. I really hope that I am proven wrong and that PUBG will thrive in the console market, but there are many factors that work against the game. Only time will tell if Playerunkown’s Battlegrounds will be a success on Xbox One, but if the track records of many multiplayer-only video games on consoles are any indication, the popular PC shooter may not find the dedicated fanbase that Microsoft and developer Bluehole are hoping it will be.