PlayerUnkown’s Battlegrounds exploded into the gaming sector in December 2017 and it quickly became a cultural phenomenon thanks to the sheer excitement of its gameplay. It looked all but certain to become the biggest success story of the decade, but then along came Fortnite and usurped it in devastating fashion.
Epic Games made $2.4 billion through Fortnite alone in 2018 and it has outstripped PUBG in the popularity stakes. However, millions of hardcore gamers still prefer PUBG. These are the top five differences between these two rival games:
PUBG looks a lot more realistic than Fortnite. Many credit it with kickstarting the battle royale genre, but it actually followed in the footsteps of H1Z1’s King of the Hill, dragging the format into a more realistic environment.
The graphics in PUBG are stunning and the maps, characters and weapons all look realistic. Fortnite goes for a brighter, more colourful and cartoonish approach. It is a lot more fun and off the wall than PUBG, and this has endeared it to many players.
PUBG undoubtedly has better and more sophisticated graphics, and that really ramps up the tension. However, the Fortnite team is not really trying to match it in that department, and its light-hearted, cartoonish approach has endeared it to more players.
Yet there is nothing light about the range of weapons Fortnite includes, including sniper rifles, assault rifles, submachine guns, pistols, grenade launchers and crossbows. PUBG takes its weapons from real-world military arms, although you can find sillier options like a crossbow.
Fortnite is a riot of fast-paced fun and breakneck action. There is also plenty of room for creativity, as you can build defensive structures using the resources you gather and chipping away at rocks, trees and buildings. You can also set traps.
There is no building in PUBG, and you risk certain depth if you are ambushed. That typically leads to a slower pace, as players are more cautious and they are likely to lay prone on the ground or hide behind a tree while planning their next shot.
The gameplay is simpler in PUBG, but it is also tenser and painstaking. It works hard to keep the battle as realistic as possible, whereas Fortnite throws all that out of the window in exchange for squeezing as much cartoonish fun as possible out of the gaming experience.
PUBG does have Fortnite beaten in one department: controls. The shooting mechanic is peerless, even on a mobile device. You can also customise the controls on PUBG, which is another plus.
You will also notice that PUBG allows bots into the battle royale arena, and this can help you hone your skills. However, it can be frustrating, as players are sometimes unsure if they have just killed a fellow human player – which is more satisfying – or a bot. Fortnite has a full contingent of 100 human players in every match, so there are no such ambiguities.
Fortnite developer Epic Games has really gone all out in its bid to crack the lucrative esports sector. In 2019, it has funded $100 million in prize pools for Fortnite tournaments, and this has helped it hold onto its status as the number one battle royale title in the world.
It is under threat from EA’s Apex Legends as well as PUBG, while there are many battle royale titles in development, so it wants to move into esports in order to hold onto its crown and provide Fortnite with longevity.
The highlight of the year was the $30 million Fortnite World Cup in New York City. Bugha, a 16-year-old gamer from Pennsylvania, was one of the youngsters that became on overnight millionaire at the event, as he won $3 million for seizing first place in the solo tournament.
PUBG also has an esports scene, which has arisen in a more organic fashion. It looks and feels more like the titles popular within esports, and many of the world’s biggest franchises have PUBG teams.
There are plenty of big events taking place, as you can see here in the Unikrn markets. It is already the ninth most lucrative esport of all time, just behind Overwatch, with $13.7 million handed out to players at tournaments.
But money talks in the nascent competitive gaming sector. Fortnite has already dished out $78.8 million to players at tournaments and it will soon overtake CS:GO to become the second most lucrative esport in history, behind only Dota 2. That will keep teenagers and young adults playing the game, as they desperately aim to follow in Bugha’s footsteps.
PUBG boasts four maps – Erangel, Miramar, Sanhok and Vikendi – and they all have different features. This requires different strategy each time, and it keeps the gameplay fresh and dynamic. Erangel is the most popular, an 8km x 8km Russian island featuring forests, cities, farms and swamps, while Miranmar is a Mexican desert filled with shantytowns.
Fortnite features just the one map. It frequently changes with each passing season, but all the games take place in the same setting. PUBG leaves cars and motorbikes to help you get around, whereas Fortnite throws in all manner of golf carts and quad bikes too.
Yet they both follow the same concept, as they map grows progressively smaller as the game develops, condensing the players together until one big final shootout leaves just one survivor.
Fortnite allows people on different devices to play in the same game as one another, and this is a major reason behind its success. You can play on the PC while a friend is on the PS4 and another is on a mobile device. It works with Xbox One, iOS and Android, and you can carry our rewards and progress across multiple devices.
PUBG has never offered crossplay, but that will finally change in October 2019, when it will start allowing players on the PS4 and Xbox One to create squads together. However, PC was not included in the developer’s presentation on this addition, presumably because that would throw the competitive balance out of whack.