Sohail khan

@intelsohail

Why is PubG so addictive?

PubG fever is in the air.

The delerium has reached to levels where a teenage has even committed suicide when he was not allowed to play the game. And while this might be an extreme, people prioritizing playing the game over other daily stuff is commonplace now.

In this scenario, it would be interesting to understand what exactly is it about the game which does not let you keep your phone down.

Source: PubG Website

About PubG

For those who do now know how about the origins of the game, this video should fill you right up:

The origins of PubG

Numbers & Stats:

  1. PubG PC early Access released on March 2017
  2. 10 million rounds were played in the first 4 months of early release, and the game made $11mn in 3 days ( even before official release)
  3. 1 mn copies sold in a month of early access release
  4. by September 2017, it had beaten DOTA2’s record of 1.3 mn concurrent online players, and by October, it has 2 mn concurrent players on Steam
  5. In October, it became the most played PC game ever in South Korea beating League of Legends
  6. PubG PC officially Released on December 2017, Mobile Version released on February 2018
  7. PubG mobile was awarded the game of the year 2018, Most Competitive Title, and also Fan Favorite across the globe in the Google Play Awards
  8. PubG Mobile has 200mn Monthly Players and 30mn Daily Players (Excluding China) ( Dec 2018 numbers)
  9. 8% of the total players are from India, and 33% are from china ( October 2018 numbers)
  10. Average amount spent per day on PubG: $1.1mn
  11. PubG Revenue in 2018: $1.03bn ( does not include Android)

World Records:

Source: GamePedia

The numbers are indicative of its popularity and addictive nature. Lets’s dive into the reasons of its addictive nature:

The Format

This is the first time the battle royale format has been adapted

Battle Royale

Very frankly, this is the first Battle Royale format Video game which was released at a mass level. The popular video games previous to this like GTA series, Assasin’s Creed etc, were tightly directed stories in which you were a character living the experience. the Survival format was limited to server and stream plays of games like Counter Strike which never left the PCs of the avid streamers. And for you would have to be really good to participate in them.

PubG is the first game which allows amateurs to play the survival game. And WIN! This is aided by their algorithm ( more on that later)

The Blue Zone

While the maps in PubG are huge & elaborate and you can land anywhere to start the game, the blue zone ( denoted by circles) makes sure that the survivers have to fight it out in the end in a smaller war zone, and the end is imminent. This ensures that the game does not last forever, and ensures the victory of a lone survivor.

A typical game lasts a maximum of 35–40 mins if you end up having chicken Dinner, and the numbers vary by 5–10 mins from map to map and from game to game.

For the user, it means they know the average gameplay for the maps they play and they can go in for a game whenever they have free time.

Play it your way

The game does not force anything on you to play it a crtain way, it just gives you the tools and allows you to apply your own strategies to win the game. Since it is a goal oriented game, you can keep trying out different techniques, try out different guns, land in different places, try to go aggressive or defensive — it is completely your choice.

This allusion of freedom allows the players to build strategies with their squad, and spend more and more time playing, trying to perfect their strategy for that elusive chicken dinner

The Algorithm

Playing with people of your own skill level

The matchmaking algorithm of the game ensures that you always play with people who are at par with your skill level.

So if you are a beginner, you will be playing with beginners only, and your chances of winning goes up drastically w.r.t. you playing with experts.

This ensures that your win-percentage stays high, and you keep getting the adrenaline rush that you need from the game. there might be chances that you lose 5 games in a row, but then you would win the next 2 and your hope of winning lives on.

Most of the multiplayer games lose stickiness when the user is not able to win the game after repeated attempts. PubG algorithm increases difficulty by changing the pool of players you play with.

Perhaps surprisingly, your rank doesn’t factor into the matchmaking process, at least directly. The developers say that instead of matching you or your duo or squad with players from the same rank, the algorithm instead looks deeper into your lifetime statistics to try to ensure you go up against players of roughly the same skill level.

The developers explained that there is also a separate MMR based on your overall performance in games. It determines the players you will face, and doesn’t take into account your Rank Points. Due to the huge amount of players needed for each match, the rank alone is not enough to provide balanced games, so they required a secondary system to reinforce the matchmaking algorithm.

The game of Rating Points and XP

An average User profile has a lot of stats attached to it.

Source: imgur

Every user is trying to get a higher season rank while trying to increase his rank levels. this requires a lot of gameplay and concurrent matches.

Every time you play a game, you get BP ( Battle Points), XP ( Experience Points) and Rating Points( Total, Survival and Kill).

BP allows you to make free in-app purchases, while XP helps your in increasing your Levels.

Rating Points are assigned based on your performance in each match. Kills, placement, the number of players in the game, and your actual tier are all considered to calculate the RP earned in a particular match. It is also possible to lose RP depending on your placement. They accumulate as ranks in your profile.

Source: Gino Technology

There are not precise info, but apparently your final placement in a match might have the biggest impact on the calculation of the Rank Points.

According to the devs, you can obtain titles through “consistently playing the game”. The progression is exponentially more difficult starting from Expert and it is influenced by “a higher ranking and kill count”.

XP and Ratings help you get badges which open more exclusive goodies for you. These badges elevate your status within the game, and make you eligible for symbolic wins like a stylized gun that you can use

Note that you have separate rankings in Solo, Duo and Squad play, though you do not have individual rankings for each map. You also have separate ranking for 3rd person and 1st person play.

Now as you go higher up, you lose more points if you perform badly, than you make if you perform well. So each time you perform bad in a game, you have to play more matches to make up for that.

Freebies and the allure of the Chicken Dinner

Right from the time you register, you are awarded freebies, and crates for every achievement that you do.

Even Daily Logins are awarded with a hero’s crate awarded every 7 days

You get to customize your avatar, give them specific movies that they do when they win the game, get crates with a mystery loot inside, exclusive items that you can unlock once you pass a certain Level.

This is classic emotional gratification where you keep reaching for the next best thing, and keep climbing an unending ladder. the interesting part is, here you are competing with multiple people and the basic instinct of competition kicks in.

They also have the Royale Pass Points wherein you can earn RPs by completing daily and weekly missions, and this gives you access to the Royal Pass. This allows you to get exclusive rewards in the form of Inventory of clothes, and accessories with which you can customize your avatar, give them specific emoticon moves like dance, etc.

The User Experience

Can be played in any decent Smartphone

You do not require a very high end phone to play PubG Mobile.

Android: Android 5.1.1 or later and at least 2GB of RAM

iOS: iOS 9 or later running on iPhone 5s or newer

While these are just the minimum requirements for PUBG Mobile, this shows that the barrier to entry is very low for anyone who wants to enjoy the game. Usually for a good gaming experience, you either require a high end PC or a very high end phone.

PubG makes it easier for you to try the game out.

Connecting with Facebook / Twitter:

By connecting to the social networks for logging in, PubG ensures that the profiles are verified and bots are not playing against each other. It also ensures that you automatically connect with your friends who are playing the game already.

This enhances the social experience unlike any other combat game where you can actually play the whole game intuitively with your friends which was not possible in any other game before this.

This also leads to huge network effects as kids and teens in schools and colleges make their teams and play as squads, and the FOMO effect kicks in big time!

The Interface

PubG is perhaps one of the best ports of a PC game to mobile. The buttons are positioned by default ( and can be customized) at just the the right places, and picking up of items happens automatically when you are near them.

There is no learning curve as such for you to become used to the interface, and all actions become intuitive in 1–2 games.

Chatting with your friends in real time

This is the first mobile game which allows you to chat with your friends while being in combat gameplay. This allows you to caution your squad at the right time, decide strategy on the go, and overall create a communal feel while playing. You are part of a team who is on a mission to win the coveted chicken dinner.

With headphones on, You are also able to locate another player firing on the other side of a hill, so you can move cautiously from cover to cover to try and get some eyes on them. You can find out whether a player or a squad is nearby, whether they are approaching or moving away. The level of precision is just enough for a user to make the right judgement calls on whether to fight or flight.

In Conclusion:

PubG is the first immersive gameplay which allows you to play with your friends talking to them, and build your own strategies within the game.

For its part, the algorithm takes care that the gameplay is fare and tailored to your expertise. It is able to bring the same amount of tactical pace and tension that the PC version has, and it is exactly the kind of cat-and-mouse engagements that has made people fall in love with the game.

I myself am a huge fan of the game, and trying to have chicken dinners every day.

How many chicken dinners did you have today?

References:

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