When PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds was first released on Xbox One several months ago as a "game preview edition" it was rough. Performance issues hampered the console version of the game with constant frame rate drops, poor textures and a range of other issues.
In the Spring Xbox PUBG roadmap the PUBG team has said that this is not good enough and they're going to work to fix things.
The early days of PUBG on Xbox One were bad. The lobby was an overwhelming mass of people that the system could not handle. Combat was frustrated by performance drops at key moments.
There's no way around it, the game wasn't in good shape. Patches have improved things. Just not by enough.
In the past 24 hours, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds Mobile has soft-launched on Android devices in Canada, presumably to test things out before the wider launch. While Kotaku UK's office is not in Canada, we did manage to get our hands on a build of the new game, and have spent this morning trying our very best to win a chicken dinner.
The Spring Xbox PUBG roadmap has a frank admission: "We are simply not satisfied with the games current console performance, and especially so during tense moments of onscreen action."
Digital Foundry have taken another look at PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds on Xbox and found there are still on-going issues.
While the game has improved from launch there are still glaring issues. Attempting to collect an air drop is a nightmare, with the smoke effect playing havoc on both Xbox One and Xbox One X. Surprisingly the Xbox One X handles the situation worse than its less powerful counterpart as additional visual effects used in the inventory screen cause significant frame drops making it difficult to loot the drop.
The "tense moments of onscreen action" that the developers mention are a major concern. These are the times the game needs to perform. Running into other players and getting into firefights is a terrible experience when the game becomes unresponsive. Unless you're looking to run and hide all game, it's just not good enough.
The PUBG team aim to address these issues. So far they've made the following changes:
- Optimized game characters and their movements
- Optimized the number of particle effects that are spawned by vehicles and grenades
- Optimized object collision complexity
- Balanced the game work across all CPU cores to reduce streaming hitches when moving
They will also be switching to a longer, two to three week cycle between patches to test their improvements.
Other changes outlined in the roadmap include: UI optimizations, improve inventory user experience, improvements to console controller options, improvements to game matchmaking and console player reporting features.
These are all good steps in the right direction. It's just a question of whether these steps are enough.