As 1.0 Approaches, Battlegrounds Is Having Some Growing Pains

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PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is, without a doubt, the breakout hit of the year. It’s sold more than 15 million copies and is the most popular game on Steam by a country mile (full of people trying to kill each other). All this, and it’s still in Early Access. You’d think it has a bright future ahead of it, but a growing number of players aren’t so sure.

No competitive Early Access game has ever gotten this popular this quickly, nor have any had to scale up their operations so rapidly to account for a player influx of this scale. This has caused some serious growing pains for PUBG, and even folks who butter their bread with PlayerUnknown’s ButterKnife can’t help but rub their temples in barely restrained fury at the current state of the game. Here’s popular streamer Dr Disrespect going off on the game after an especially rocky session.


“It’s just a fuckfest of desync and lag,” he said. “We’re getting real close to never playing this game again, deleting it, and laughing at this developer group if they ever try to bring out new content.”

Dr Disrespect, who used to work at Activision, added that if a game he was working on there ever performed so poorly during a playtest, they’d have pulled the plug on the test and poured every available resource into smoothing out the experience.

It’s not just public figures like The Doc, though. While players still love the game’s core premise of 100 people at the end of the earth fighting a war over the final chicken dinner after the planet’s remaining resources were processed into energy drinks [citation needed], some are fed up with elements of its execution. This stems primarily from an influx of hackers, as well as ongoing issues with server connectivity and general glitchiness, all as the game zeroes in on an official version 1.0 “release” that’s still slated for later this year.


In the past 30 days, Steam reviews of the game have been only 37 percent positive, or “mostly negative” by Steam’s metrics. Granted, a portion of these come from a review bomb over advertisements that happened at the beginning of the month, but recent weeks have also seen a flood of reviews complaining about hackers, lag, performance issues, physics problems, unreliable gunplay, and other bugs. Nearly 5,000 negative reviews have been posted today alone.


Developer Bluehole seems to be plugging away on better anti-cheat measures, though it’s tough to say when those will bear fruit.

Visiting the game’s most popular discussion boards, you get a sense of exasperated fatigue, with many on Reddit and the game’s Steam forums fearing that PUBG is destined to go the way of DayZ, both with regards to glitches and a lack of meaningful updates to the game.


“I enjoy the game, but the times I have died because of poor optimization, bad netcode, bugs and other fixable stuff is just infuriating,” said a player named _I_Have_Opinions_ on the PUBG subreddit. “Another big problem is how Bluehole keeps promising stuff and seems to be pushing for 1.0 this year (which the game is not ready for). For how long has vaulting [over obstacles] been ‘just a patch’ away?”

For now, Bluehole is stuck in the middle, surrounded on all sides by factions they’ll never be able to fully please. Players can’t even agree on what exactly they want when version 1.0 is officially released: Some are looking for a single map that’s super-polished, but others are champing hard at the bit for More Content, even if it’s less perfect. In that respect, PUBG is an accurate reflection of real life: we can’t all be winners.


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Nathan Grayson

Kotaku reporter. Beats: Twitch, PC gaming, Overwatch.