Tencent games – the company behind PUBG Mobile – pushed out a new update for the game earlier today and it brings a ton of new changes and updates to the game. Being a PUBG player myself, I obviously played a couple of games in the new first-person mode, and checked out the shop and the new challenges; and the one thing that stuck out to me, is that PUBG Mobile is clearly worried about being overshadowed by Fortnite on mobile too, like on PCs and consoles all over the world.
If you’re in the Fortnite camp, I’m sure you need no convincing that PUBG is (and should be) worried about its place in the world of mobile gaming. However, if you’re in the PUBG camp, let me tell you just why this update is a clear indication that PUBG is trying very hard to be Fortnite, before Fortnite can come and steal PUBG’s players from Android as well.
In the new update, PUBG has added what it’s calling ‘Royale Pass.’ Royale Pass will basically unlock a bunch of challenges for players, which, when completed, will reward players with in-game money, cosmetic upgrades, and in-game items.
Fortnite has had a ‘Battle Pass’ for a while now (in the fourth season currently), and it also offers players a bunch of challenges to complete within the duration of the season, to win cosmetic upgrades, V-bucks (the in-game currency), and XP.
What’s more, Fortnite’s Battle Pass also has a free tier. This gives players fewer challenges, and the rewards aren’t as many, or as cool. Guess what? PUBG Mobile has a free ‘Royale Pass’ as well now, and it works exactly the same way as Fortnite’s ‘Battle Pass.’
Obviously it isn’t wrong of PUBG Mobile to implement a concept of ‘Royale Pass’ into the game; after all, it adds a different dimension to the game, and offers players another reason to come back and play the game more and for longer. However, it’s the fact that PUBG Mobile is only now bringing features that are an exact replica of Fortnite’s features that makes it feel like PUBG is scared of Fortnite’s popularity.
Yet another thing that PUBG has implemented in the new 0.6.0 update to PUBG Mobile is the ability for players to use ’emotes’ in the game. For anyone who hasn’t played Fortnite in their life (who are you, really?), these are basically character-actions that you can make use of within the game. They don’t offer any tactical advantage, and instead are purely there for fun.
Fortnite’s emotes are a very highly used action in the game. Before every game, you’ll spot a bunch of players showing off the emotes they’ve acquired, and basically having fun before they drop down from the Battle Bus and try to kill each other.
PUBG Isn’t Fortnite and It Shouldn’t Try to Be
I wouldn’t have an issue with PUBG Mobile introducing features from Fortnite into the game. After all, these features can add yet another reason for you to come back to the game; with emotes, the game becomes a lot more lighthearted. However, PUBG isn’t a lighthearted game the way Fortnite is, and that’s the core of the problem here.
Fortnite has always been a game that has taken battle royale, and the concept of killing other players in a fun, lighthearted manner. That’s very visible in everything Fortnite does. The graphics are playful, shooting at an enemy pops up the amount of damage you’ve done in a comical font, characters don’t die, but simply vanish from the field dropping all of their items. Throw things like emotes into that mix, and they blend in perfectly.
Emotes offer players yet a fun way of expressing themselves in a game that doesn’t take itself seriously in a genre that is essentially about killing 99 people and being the last man standing. For heaven’s sake, Fortnite uses a Battle Bus flying with the help of a balloon to drop players on the field.
PUBG, on the other hand, has never been a lighthearted game. It has always been a game with realistic graphics, blood animations, and explosions that look very much like actual explosions (or at least get close). Players are dropped onto the playing field from an aeroplane, and the guns, kevlar vests, and helmets are all made to look as real as possible. Things like emotes in such a game make little to no sense, and is clearly an indication that the developers are at least a little worried about the way Fortnite is making inroads into every gamer’s console, PC, iPhone, and even the Nintendo Switch.
So yeah, the latest update for PUBG Mobile may not rebrand the game as ‘PUBG with a Fortnite Crisis,’ but it goes to show that the developers are now realizing that they’ve got some catching up to do, or they might miss the (battle) bus.