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PUBG Mobile: Why You Keep Winning (Maybe)

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PUBG Corp. and Tencent surprised everyone when they decided to suddenly release PUBG Mobile in the US and other regions this week. After being beaten to consoles by the free-to-play Fortnite: Battle Royale, it looked as if Fortnite would again be the first of the two big-name games to hit mobile in the West when an iOS test began recently. Instead, PUBG has beaten Fortnite to the punch, as the former is now available free on iOS and Android. If you’ve already been playing, however, you might want to temper your excitement over any wins you picked up in the early going.

When you first open the game, you’re presented with the option to take part in a tutorial, or you can just jump straight into a match (in Squad mode, by default). From there, things basically play out like PUBG on PC and Xbox One: you wait in the lobby, parachute out of a plane onto the island, and try to survive. What’s seemingly different is everyone’s success rate–the game’s subreddit has been flooded with posts from people who have never won on other platforms yet managed to rack up a chicken dinner in their first game on mobile.

The quick assumption is that these are players who understand PUBG’s mechanics and have a leg up on new players, or that the less precise touch controls have flattened the skill curve, giving everyone a better chance to take out other players. Yet it appears what’s causing this is instead the presence of bots, which apparently fill in matches and serve to ease players into the experience. It’s a clever way to ease people into what can be a difficult game, but it also means the bloated egos of those who claimed victory in their first match are looking a little silly now (ahem).

Whatever the competition might be, PUBG works surprisingly well on mobile, although the controls can be a challenge. The game scales its visuals to one of several settings depending on what device you’re using to play, and some changes have been made. For instance, there is an auto pick-up option that eases the amount of inventory management you have to do. There are also daily login bonuses to keep players coming back, as is typical for a mobile game. If you haven’t already downloaded it, you can grab it from the iOS App Store or Google Play.

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