Over the last few weeks, PC and console battle royale games Fortnite and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) have started to appear on mobile phones. These apps are surprisingly full-featured, offering almost identical gameplay with downsized graphics and cleverly adapted controls. With Facebook integration and a free app, it's easier than ever to play with your friends.
However, there's been a recent backlash against a specific group of PUBG mobile players: those who play the game on their PC, using the game's original keyboard and mouse controls through a range of different Android emulators. Bluestacks, one such emulator, has even added a 'battle royale' control mode, giving you perfectly set up controls out of the box so you can begin conquering the competition immediately.
Let's look at how why you might want to play the mobile version of PUBG on your PC, how to do so, and what developers Tencent have done to clamp down on 'emulator cheaters'.
Why play PUBG mobile on your PC?
There are a few different reasons that you might want to play PUBG mobile on your PC.
First of all, it makes the game significantly easier to play. Moving, aiming and even spotting distant enemies is child's play when you're using a keyboard and mouse instead of a clumsy touch screen. Bugs in the emulated version of the game tip the scales even further in your favour, as some builds allow you to see through doors and see the terrain without vegetation, trees and other visual distractions that opponents might be hiding behind.
If you're a poor to average player on the PC or console version of PUBG, you'll be in with a chance to win your first chicken dinner on mobile. If you're an experienced PC player with an excellent knowledge of the map, weapons and strategy, you can absolutely obliterate the competition, allowing you to regularly record 10+ kill games and claim a battle royale victory more often than not. It feels good to win in such dominating fashion, as long as you ignore the fact that your opponents are essentially playing with two hands tied behind their back.
Secondly, and more legitimately, PUBG mobile is much easier to run than the full game. If you are playing on a laptop or low-end desktop, even one without a dedicated graphics card, you won't be able to run proper PUBG on PC, but you can probably run the mobile version just fine. The app is also completely free to play, compared to the £27 cost of the Steam version. Given that a gaming PC might normally cost £300 to £1500, playing on an existing low-cost computer is an amazing cost savings.
How to play PUBG mobile on your computer
So, how can you actually play PUBG mobile on your PC? It's pretty straightforward.
First, download an Android emulator like Bluestacks -- I recommend the Android N beta version. Go through the installation process -- you may need to enable hardware virtualisation in your BIOS to boost your frame rates if it's not already enabled. Once set up, use the Play Store app to download and install PUBG. It is a pretty weighty download, so you may have to do this overnight if your internet speed is limited.
Once installed, start up the game. In Bluestacks, you can press F1 to use the emulator's battle royale mode, which automatically sets up the controls for you. Otherwise, you can set up your own mapping following your emulator's instructions -- normally you have to add an emulated key press where each button appears on screen, a d-pad for movement and aiming, and so on.
In Bluestacks, you can hold Alt to temporarily disable the battle royale mode so you can click buttons. This allows you to navigate through the menus, change your loadout and click on on-screen buttons that you haven't memorised the key bindings for yet. If the mouse stops working, try pressing Alt twice to reset things, and don't be tempted to adjust the built-in battle royale mode as this seems to break it.
When you're ready, enter a game. You'll spawn in a waiting area while everyone loads, then move to a plane. Jump out at an opportune moment (perhaps looking at the map with M first), aim towards the ground and start looking for loot. If you see an enemy player, you should be able to destroy them easily by moving and shooting at the same time -- something that's super challenging for legitimate mobile players. Rinse and repeat until chicken dinner is achieved.
How Tencent are clamping down on cheaters
Of course, this wild west can't last forever. Developers Tencent are rightfully cracking down on emulator players as of late, confining them to games only populated by bots and other emulator players. That seems like a fitting punishment, as it means that a level playing field is maintained, while still supporting gamers that might not be able to run the full version of PUBG (or afford to buy it in the first place).
Of course, while some players on PC are accepting the restriction or switching back to the full PC version, others are developing methods to bypass the game's emulator detection. As with other games, expect this arms race to continue while PUBG mobile remains popular!
So that's all you need to know about cheating on the mobile version of PUBG by playing through an Android emulator on PC. Expect this entire scenario to repeat itself once the Android version of Fortnite is released later this year!
What do you think of those that play emulated PUBG mobile? Would you, or have you, tried it yourself? Let me know in the comments below!