The Worst Part Of Fortnite's Popularity Is The PUBG Snobs

Six months after gritty survival shooter PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds' debut, the cartoony, lighthearted survival shooter Fortnite Battle Royale came along. If Battlegrounds is the pitbull of this genre, Fortnite is the golden retriever. One of its weapons is the "boogie bomb". There's a gingerbread man skin and a "bear force one" glider. Lots of kids play, sometimes during school hours.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

It's a fast, popcorn-y experience with a bright, fun colour palette and alliterative locations like "Tomato Town" and "Haunted Hills." So mainstream that baffled cable newscasters are talking about it, Fortnite is a survival shooter for the everymen. Yes, it offers a similar play experience as Battlegrounds, but its vibe is more welcoming in its candy sweetness. And some who cling to the supposedly more hardcore Battlegrounds look down on Fortnite players.

Battlegrounds snobbery is a thing now, and it's worth asking why. What is it that makes Battlegrounds a serious survival shooter and Fortnite, which is by no means an easy game to win, a game for casuals and kids?

Fortnite Battle Royale

One of the most visible Battlegrounds snobs is Guy "Dr. Disrespect" Beahm, the most recognizablebiggest Battlegrounds streamer, who in a stern police-officer mustache and a mullet, plays Battlegrounds with the ethos of a pro wrestler. ESPN called him a "a hyper-caricature of how the stereotypical male gamer views himself."

His fans, the "Slick Daddy Club" (Update — 5:00 p.m. ET: Now the "Champions Club") cheer him on as he performs as a serious dude gamer (he often uses the word "dominance") for thousands at a time on Twitch. Dr. Disrespect came from the world of H1Z1 and Call of Duty, which, along with his machismo song-and-dance, rocketed him into Twitch fame.

When Battlegrounds' hype began to wane, Dr. Disrespect began taking shots at Fortnite Battle Royale, referring to it as "Ducktails treehouse building playground tag you're it duck duck goose tether ball" and its streams as "Chuck E Cheese ball pit experiences." Pretty harsh, Doc.

YouTuber Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg also jumped on the Fortnite-hating bandwagon. Last year, he documented his redemption arc from helpless Battlegrounds mincemeat to winner, winner, chicken dinner for millions of fans.

Then came Fortnite Battle Royale. In a video last week titled "FORTNITE CRINGE," PewDiePie mocked the game's record-setting playerbase and related video content.

"YouTube gaming — it's all Fortnite!" he complained. In his PewDiePie way, his dripping sarcasm betrays small pieces of what feel like his actual opinion. Once, when he names Fortnite, he airs a picture of a LEGO-style game, half-jokingly referring to Fortnite players as "pathetic beta males." "At least I don't play Fortnite," he says, a little more seriously.

"That's pretty much the only thing I have going for me. It's my biggest pride and demise at the same time." In another video, in lieu of playing Fortnite, PewDiePie opts to play a Fortnite knock-off on the kids' gaming platform Roblox.

Not everyone who prefers Battlegrounds to Fortnite is a Battlegrounds snob. Kotaku weekend editor Cameron Kunzelman wrote persuasively last week about how Battlegrounds' slowness fosters a more deliberate playstyle that he prefers.

He also doesn't like Fortnite Battle Royale's building mechanics. That's real. Other criticisms, I'm not so sure of. I'm sick of hearing about Battlegrounds' infinitely superior "gunfeel." I'm bored of people referring to Fortnite Battle Royale as a kids' game because it has cutesy graphics. I'm especially going to roll my eyes at anyone who calls it a rip-off when, well, in a way, so is Battlegrounds.

As a former Battlegrounds player who moved onto Fortnite Battle Royale, I get both sides. I get that attaching yourself to one game other other "says something" about you as a gamer. Sometimes, it comes across as machismo.

I've had an equally hard time winning a game of Battlegrounds as I've had winning a game of Fortnite. It's just different kinds of "hard." To me, Battlegrounds demands more in inventory management, patience, situational awareness and, in my opinion, gun know-how. I have to play with extreme intentionality to make any progress (those with precise shooting skills honed through, say, Call of Duty, might say differently).

Fortnite is faster. I have to think on my toes and build structures that meet my ever-changing defensive needs. I have to mine the landscape and modulate it with stairways and platforms to get where I need. Fortnite has jump pads, bush camouflage, guided missiles and other weapons that add tactical complexity. And, of course, I need to have good aim. Fortnite's skill cap is high, but it's not the sort of depth that is immediately recognisable to PC shooter aficionados.

When I asked Battlegrounds-preferers about their reasoning, most of them agreed with Kunzelman's assessment of the game's slower pace and building mechanics. All of this can read as very "Gamers Prefer One Game Over Another Similar Game." That's not what makes a snob. Describing Fortnite, even half-jokingly, as a game for "pathetic beta males" does. Being unable to talk about Fortnite without people starting to debate PUBG's superiority is also snobbery.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

For gamers who grew up in this PC gaming tradition — Quake, Counter-StrikeBattlegrounds' military grit and gunplay attention-to-detail immediately positions it as a serious game for serious PC shooter fans. Despite its high skill ceiling, Fortnite's bubblegum vibe, building mechanics and apathy toward realistic gunplay doesn't make the same bid for these type of gamers.

Joshua Trevett, who has 350 hours on Battlegrounds, says that "PUBG retains more of that Arma mil-sim feel," referring to the hyper-realistic military shooter Arma, which lots of real soldiers play.

"PUBG's direct descendence from Arma and its target for realism in the weapon handling are aspects which are definitely gonna attract people with military fascinations." he added.

Players I interviewed did cite Battlegrounds' snug place in the tradition of hardcore PC shooters. Decades' worth of military-style shooters helps inform the way lots of people approach Battlegrounds, the way they relate to the game and its systems. Do the bullets feel like they're moving through space? Do they sound like that, too? In a game where, say, driving and opening doors doesn't feel as clean to me as shooting, it's clear where developers put their attention.

Battlegrounds has realistic gun mechanics with true-to-form recoil and bullet physics. With its scopes, magazines and tactical add-ons, it's got pretty intricate gun-focused inventory management demands.

Because of its emphasis on gunplay, teacher and battle royale gamer Joe Brichetto told me, PUBG "is as unapproachable as any other twitch shooter is to the non-gamer." As a teacher, he's watched his young students who haven't had the same attachment to PC shooters fall in love with the more approachable, less war-sim-like Fortnite. He especially loves to hear his female students, who had never played a shooter, brag about their Fortnite Battle Royale squad victories.

A lot of these kids don't care about PUBG's place in the PC gaming lineage.

Fortnite Battle Royale

Taylor Hidalgo, who prefers Battlegrounds, said "it's closer to how I'd be in a kill-or-be-killed scenario than something that has rocket launchers, cartoon physics, and the ability to carry crates of wood," adding that Battlegrounds more accurately represents "how an island (or valley) full of 98 other people trying to kill me would feel."

When people talk about Battlegrounds' strengths against Fortnite's weaknesses, it sometimes feels like they're talking about the superiority of a more masculine game. Its realistic gun physics, dark, military feel, and similar virtues to other PC shooters can make Fortnite's sparkle gliders and "Pleasant Park" zone feel a little feminine by comparison. When I followed up with the same sources whether they considered Battlegrounds to be more "masculine," everyone who got back said yes.

The response that, to me, really captured this sentiment was Battlegrounds-liker Pieter Hoekstra's:

"I think it uses things that are already coded as masculine in games, i.e. 'realistic guns,' manual controls, etc. One thing that does actually occur to me is that PUBG being more of a 'military shooter' automatically links it to a primarily masculine enterprise in a way that isn't as clearly the case with Fortnite. On that count I'd say it is more masculine, but that has a lot more to do with attitudes toward masculinity and warfare outside the game itself then anything PUBG says about those things."

To me, it's like this: Battlegrounds immediately appeals to gamers who played the other PC shooters and enjoy military realism — slow tactics and everything — while Fortnite's welcoming aesthetic and less toy-soldier feel invites in all types of players. Fortnite is considered by some as a lesser game because it is more approachable, not because it is actually mechanically inferior.

Fortnite just poses a different sort of challenge.

Only a small minority of gamers who prefer Battlegrounds are snobs about it. My advice for those gamers is to consider where their snobbery comes from. Is it their personal preference for longer, slower survival shooters with an emphasis on "survival"? That's great. You do you. For others, the inability to understand Fortnite's appeal while hardheartedly proselytizing Battlegrounds' "gunplay" and "tactics" comes off a little differently.

It seems like cultural pressures are steering some toward a traditionally-coded "hardcore" shooter and away from another game that's comfortable with its lightheartedness.


Comments

    Ha! I've never said a bad word about Fortnite, despite the fact that I prefer PUBG, and all I ever get is people telling me why Fortnite is better. Kotaku has literally posted articles on this subject. Spare me the martyrdom.

      If they're just talking up the game they like, there's nothing wrong with that. If they're insulting you as a person because you like something else then that's a problem, regardless of who does it.

      This article is talking about the latter, you seem to be describing the former.

        This article is mostly about criticism of a game, not insult. I think that's an important distinction to make - a person can take offense to criticism of something they like, but that is not necessarily the same thing as a personal attack. And I am speaking of this, as does the article.

          When I asked Battlegrounds-preferers about their reasoning, most of them agreed with Kunzelman's assessment of the game's slower pace and building mechanics. All of this can read as very "Gamers Prefer One Game Over Another Similar Game." That's not what makes a snob. Describing Fortnite, even half-jokingly, as a game for "pathetic beta males" does. Being unable to talk about Fortnite without people starting to debate PUBG's superiority is also snobbery.

          I think this quote makes it clear that the problem isn't criticism of a game. It specifically calls out insult and oneupmanship as problems. Pewdiepie's comment insulting the players of the game is one of the examples the article uses; Disrespect (and others) calling it a children's game comes close since it casts aspersions about the people that play it.

          The way I see it, the article's message seems to be to play whichever one you like and quit trying to make the people playing the other one feel bad for having different tastes.

            I did say 'mostly'. Aside from the mention of these 2 personalities, the rest of the article is about PUBG players critique of Fortnite. I might argue that most of the article is about critique over direct insult, and that the title itself defines the writer's issue being with 'snobs' - a term denoted to people who are notoriously discerning, though not necessarily aggressively insulting. Heck, the last paragraph of the article is a criticism of PUBG's fanbase - "It seems like cultural pressures are steering some toward a traditionally-coded 'hardcore' shooter and away from another game that's comfortable with its lightheartedness".

            However, this is all kinda semantics. I guess we'll all take what we want from a piece like this

    Being unable to talk about Fortnite without people starting to debate PUBG's superiority is also snobbery. Doesn't this sentence perfectly describe this entire article? Saying that the biggest problem in one game is the fans of another screams snobbery of a different kind.

    I enjoy them both, play neither regularly, but certainly prefer the aesthetics of pubg. For me, a game about being the last person alive - about shooting and killing 99 other people to be the sole survivor - shouldn't be sunshine and rainbows.

      Pretty much how I feel too. The article seems to minimalize my feelings on this, by attributing my dislike of Fortnite's aesthetic to 'cultural pressure'? But I'm not FPS nut, I haven't played CoD in years, and I love the crap out of Overwatch's cartoony aesthetic. I just prefer PUBG's gritty vibe, as you say it feels more suitable to the tone of a battle royale. But whatever...

        I enjoy both games, but don't really like the FortNite Battle Royale - much happier playing it PVE where building are just towers and bridges to nowhere.

        What is it that makes Battlegrounds a serious survival shooter and Fortnite, which is by no means an easy game to win, a game for casuals and kids?

        Er... the casuals and kids...

    I don't play either, so your all snobs to me.

    With your rocket dabbing and dinner dinner chicken winners, bloody hipsters, the lot of you!!

    So basically:
    - Fanboys exist and the author doesn’t like it
    - PDP was taken seriously?
    - People have preferences for different games/something about “cultural pressure”

    Points to consider:
    - Arguing with fanboys is pointless, ignore them
    - Nobody should take PDP seriously
    - Just play the games you like to play

    Seriously there’s been loads of articles on Kotaku about how great Fortnite is, who really cares what fanboys think?

    Really? As a fan of both, it seems the complete opposite to me.

    Go on the PUBG subreddit, there are heaps of people talking about things that Fortnite does better, or praising Epic. Yet on the FortniteBR sub, everyone hates on PUBG gameplay as "boring" and makes out like every PUBG player camps out in a bush the whole game.

    They're completely different games. Fortnite is wacky and fun and the building mechanics are strategic and awesome, but the gunplay is awful, the shotgun-jump spam is annoying and it's full to the brim with 10 year olds. On the other hand, PUBG is way more tense, the tactical movement and spotting is really important and vehicles are fantastic fun. Yet it's very poorly optimised and has way more hackers.

    I don't think either is slow or fast, they are what you make them. If you want a quick, intense game, jump at Tilted (Fortnite) or School (PUBG). Or just hide in a bush for the whole game and probably win. It works just as well in either game.

    Anyway, Fortnite players are more smug than PUBG in my experience.

      I agree sir digby. Ginger here lol I second your sentiment on PUBG.A certain tie in element with the smug ps4 owner because they cant get it yet. They seem to be a quite a loud element. Both games have their merits but given the choice I seem to pick PUBG consistently.

      Or just hide in a bush for the whole game and probably win. It works just as well in either game.

      "Hide in a bush or hide as a bush" sums up the difference between the game to me.

      Both fun, but very different games.

    Hopefully battle royales die off so all the kids can go back to playing minecraft

    So you recognised that there are people with polar opposites for their taste of shooters, in this case PUBG and Fortnite Battle Royale. That both parties are bad mouthing each other, then proceed to have a little cry article because such thing exists? Suck it up and just move on?

    Last edited 08/04/18 4:16 pm

    I wonder if price would play a part in the judgement, even though it's only $30 for pubg I'm sure some people would draw negative conclusions about a free alternative without actually playing it!

    Also pubg is meant to be rough on Xbox so it's probably mostly console gamers on Fortnite and mostly pc gamers on pubg?

    This just in. Rabid fanboys say idiotic things.

    More news at 11.

    Also, To whoever wrote this silly article. Dont pretened like the exact opposite happens with rabid Fortnite fans. This author seems to just want to stir up shit for the sake of it.

      I like X more than Y, I think it's better because it's the one I like, I don't have any proof X is better so I'll just say the people that use X are superior people to Y users.

      Sources;
      Nintendo v Sega
      Mac v pc
      PlayStation v Xbox
      Geez I could go on for ever....

        You missed the big one, the ultimate fanboi dichotomy, the war to end all wars, the fight in which there can be no compromise:

        Apple vs Android!

    No.
    The worst part about Fortnite's popularity is the incessant stream of shitty articles it elicits.

    Only a small minority of gamers who prefer Battlegrounds are snobs about it.

    Doesn't this apply to pretty much everything? Linux vs Windows, Intel vs AMD, Ford vs Holden...

    Pubg isnt realistic! There's no llamas anywhere. Anyone who has been on a battlefield knows to be vigilant for llamas. Btw Onward battle royal would be OP!

    Oh look another article that bags PUBG. Yep I’m on Kotaku.

    I like how this websites idea of journalism is taking pre-conceived ideas and biases and then trawling socials for support.

    "I'm especially going to roll my eyes at anyone who calls it a rip-off when, well, in a way, so is Battlegrounds."

    What???? Do you even know where pubg came from??? THE ARMA 2 MOD. How in the hell is it a RIP off. You gave NO evidence of what it is a rip off of because you know that it isn't. Do some research before you start writing retarded shit.

    PUBG snobbery? I've tried both games and I have not once had to deal with salt from a PUBG player but when I play Fortnite people are just toxic about it (get a request to either tell you how bad you are because they killed you when you just landed or call you names and tell you to kill yourself because you killed them in-game), they updated their map (claimed it as a new map) and I literally saw some kids start attacking a guy on Facebook because he said it "isn't that the same map just updated?" And they started calling him retarded over asking a question as simple as yes or no, and when you think about it, Fortnite did rip off the Battle Royale game mode that originated from the Arma 2 mod which was created by Brendon Green (the creator of PUBG), when PUBG came out they decided to jump on a band wagon of the BR game mode, also just look at how Fortnite streamers react when they get killed they get angry and start yelling, but with PUBG they just head onto the next match, Also using Doc as your reference for PUBG players being snobs? He loves stirring the pot, everyone that has watched at least 2-3 of his videos know this, same with Pewdiepie he likes getting people's reactions, so in no way this does article hold up in anyway shape or form, they are two different games if you enjoy one more good for you no reason to fight or verbally abuse others over it

    I'm not a fan of fortnite mostly because they released a kickstarter funded paid game that had nothing to do with the battle royale genre, then saw how popular pubg was, stole their idea and basically screwed over the people who bought the games original premise by releasing this "free" add-on which has completely overtaken the original game.

      To be fair, it wasn't PUBG's idea in the first place, they just did it better than anyone had previously, and added some pretty cool bits.

      Games have been doing for as long as there have been games.

      Wolfenstein 3D anyone?

        There was no battle royale mode in Wolf3D, hell it didn't even have multi-player.
        We aren't talking about all 1st person shooters here, or even all multi player shooters.
        Battle royale is a specific mode of multi-player where the main prerequisite is once you are dead you are out.

        Last edited 09/04/18 4:12 pm

    There was no battle royale mode in Wolf3D,

    Really? Never said there was.

    My comment was about people copying features from other games for forever. Wolfenstein 3D was pretty much the first FPS shooter, so you could argue that every FPS since, including PUBG, has copied that from them.

    Sorry that you misunderstood.

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