Ask anyone who’s a big fan of battle royale games and they’ll tell you that there are only really two major contenders: PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite. These two games are arguably the two great colossi of the battle royale genre; while there are others, of course (most notably Apex Legends), they aren’t quite the pure distillation of the genre that these two represent. Of course, there are differences between the two titles, but you’ll tend to find that most gamers favour one over the other.
We thought it might be fun to pit them against one another head-to-head. How do the two titans of battle royale gaming compare to one another? There aren’t a hundred combatants in this battle, only two. Of course, we can’t declare a winner here; the better of the two games is purely down to your own preference. PUBG and Fortnite both have their defenders, but which of them do you enjoy more? We’ll examine this issue through a number of lenses and see which game excels where.
Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds aim for very different things when it comes to their visuals. The former is clearly aimed at a younger audience with its bouncy and irreverent cartoony style, while the latter is obviously going for a more gritty, realistic Call of Duty-esque visual aesthetic. That feeds into their gameplay loops, too, but you’ll immediately know which of the two you prefer just by looking at screenshots. There’s room for both, of course, so declaring a winner here isn’t really possible.
Both of these games have strong esports presences, but there’s a raging battle going on right now between the two fandoms. Fortnite’s gameplay is very much akin to games like Unreal Tournament or Overwatch; it eschews things like bullet drop-off and realistic recoil (although recent patches have changed that somewhat) in favour of pure aiming and movement mechanics. PUBG, by contrast, is a more skill-based affair, leading some to believe it’s a better esport. That’s reflected in the games’ betting scenes; you’re much more likely to find a PUBG betting site than you are for Fortnite right now.
These games are both battle royale titles, so they have very similar end goals: you must be the last player standing after the other 99 in each game have fallen. The play area is initially huge, but shrinks over time, meaning that engagements are more and more likely as time goes on. Fortnite emphasises building and crafting mechanics, while PUBG has a more movement-based focus with its vehicle options. Which one you prefer will depend on your personal skillset, of course.
If you want to play either Fortnite or PUBG, you’re spoiled for choice. The former is available on PlayStation 4, as well as PC and mobile. PUBG, on the other hand, is available for PS4 and PC as well as mobile, but you won’t find it on Nintendo Switch. The trade-off here is that if you’ve got a Google Stadia subscription, you’ll find PUBG there, so you can stream it. You’d better make sure you’ve got a solid connection if you’re planning to do so, because there’s nothing worse than an abrupt disconnection. We’re expecting both Fortnite and PUBG to make an appearance on PS5 given their popularity.
PUBG’s maps are numerous on the mobile version: it’s got four options, each of which is arguably much, much bigger (with the exception of Sanhok) than Fortnite’s single offering. Still, size isn’t everything, and traversing PUBG’s colossal maps can occasionally get a little tedious, so if you’re someone who likes more immediate action then you should probably opt for Fortnite. The bigger maps do make tactical engagements more feasible in PUBG, though, so that’s where you should head if you’re a strategy buff.
The mobile version of Fortnite doesn’t allow you to customise your control scheme at all, which might end up feeling like a point against it if you don’t like the default touch layout. PUBG, on the other hand, allows you to move controls around and change sensitivity if you don’t like what you’ve been given. For accessibility, PUBG is the clear winner if you’re playing on mobile. Still, Fortnite’s controls are arguably more accessible to begin with, so there’s a clear tradeoff.
Ease of use
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds makes its home on the massively popular Steam digital distribution platform, so getting to play it won’t be difficult at all. Similarly, if you’re looking to play the game on mobile devices, you’ll find it in whatever app store you’re using. Fortnite, on the other hand, has a stranger relationship with Android than PUBG does, so you’ll have to download it from Epic’s website rather than Google Play. That can be tricky if you don’t want to enable downloads from third-party sources.
Thus endeth our rundown of the key differences between PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite. Both games have their niche, and there’s a good reason to play both of them. It’s also worth noting here that PUBG costs money in the form of an entry fee, while Fortnite is completely free-to-play. Once you’ve paid for the one-off purchase, PUBG won’t cost you anything, but that’s something to bear in mind when you’re making a decision on which one you want to check out.