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PUBG on Xbox: Everything you need to know

Chicken dinner for One, please

Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, the multiplayer survival shooter that has dominated 2017 on PC, is available on Xbox One starting Dec. 12. Here’s what you need to know in advance of the game’s console launch.

What is Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds?

In Battlegrounds, also referred to as PUBG, 100 players parachute onto an island with nothing but the clothes on their back. They scavenge for weapons, armor and vehicles before duking it out to be the last one standing. The winner is awarded the “chicken dinner,” a pile of in-game currency that they can use to purchase cosmetic upgrades.

It sounds simple, but the trick is that, as time goes on, the playable area of the map shrinks. Those left outside the ring are dealt damage over time. That means the main group of heavily armed players are constantly pressed closer and closer together. That makes games fast and brutal, with each one coming in around 30 minutes. Making it into the top ten provides quite an adrenaline rush.

Battlegrounds launched in March 2017 on PC, and so far has sold more than 24 million copies. It’s even unseated Dota 2 as the most-played game on Steam.

When can I play Battlegrounds on Xbox? How much is it?

Battlegrounds launches on Xbox Dec. 12 and will cost $29.99.

Servers for players in the United States and Canada go online at 9:00 p.m. PT on Dec. 11. If you’re overseas, you can find the global release schedule on the Xbox blog.

PUBG Corp.

Who is making Battlegrounds for Xbox One?

Both the PC and the console version of Battlegrounds are being built by the same team at PUBG Corporation. However, the team working on the Xbox One version of the game has received some additional support from Microsoft.

Bihary explained that while Battlegrounds is technically a second-party Microsoft title, PUBG Corp. has been receiving extra assistance, given the high profile of the game. That includes support from the team at The Coalition, makers of Gears of War 4, which has lent its expertise in areas such as aiming, movement and controller support.

A custom controller sent out to members of the press includes some new iconography.
Charlie Hall/Polygon

Is the console version of the game finished?

Battlegrounds is a work in progress. The PC version has been in Steam’s Early Access program since March and has been adding features and content on a regular basis. After a short delay announced in July, the game will have it’s official 1.0 release for PC on Dec. 20.

For its console release, Battlegrounds will be entering the Xbox Game Preview program, which is similar to Early Access on Steam. When it launches, the console version will not be at the same stage of development as the PC version. Nico Bihary, Microsoft’s executive producer on the project, says players should expect a gameplay experience that is about six months behind the PC version.

What makes the Xbox version unique?

Battlegrounds will run at 30 frames per second on Xbox One. It will also launch with full compatibility with the Xbox One X and feature 4k resolution and high dynamic range (HDR). Otherwise, the plan is to make this version of Battlegrounds the same game as the one being built for PC.

Players on PC and Xbox One will not be able to play together at launch. Developers at PUBG Corp. have expressed an interest in supporting crossplay in the past.

Does the game feel good without a mouse and keyboard?

Perhaps the biggest unknown, aside from general server-side stability, is what it will feel like to play Battlegrounds while on a console without mouse-and-keyboard support. The PC version of the game has included controller support since August, but it’s far from the ideal way to play the game.

The most challenging aspect for PUBG Corp. will be recreating the PC version’s inventory system when playing with a controller is the only option. Battlegrounds relies on a complex set of weapon attachments, and moving scopes and grips from the ground and onto a weapon as quickly as possible is a big part of the game. Check out the guide to the gamepad controls below and use our in-depth guide of basic controls to get started.

How about the new map? Climbing and vaulting? First-person?

A new desert map called Miramar is currently in public testing on PC and scheduled to go live with the PC game’s 1.0 release on Dec. 20. This new map will not launch with the Xbox One version of the game, and no date has been given for when it will arrive on the console.

Climbing and vaulting, a feature that arrived late on PC, will be included at launch on Xbox One.

The console version of Battlegrounds will not include a first-person only mode at launch. For now, that will only be available on PC.

What about microtransactions? Does Battlegrounds have any on Xbox?

Microsoft tells Polygon that there are “no plans or announcements regarding microtransactions,” other than the set of Xbox exclusive cosmetic upgrades announced earlier this week.

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