Is PUBG’s PS4 & Xbox One Update a Desperate Ploy to Stay Relevant?

Posted in: Gaming NewsOp-ed
April 27, 2020 5:10 PM UTC

PUBG is introducing bots to the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the battle royale to make the game easier for new players - and stay relevant.

  • AI bots are heading to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of PUBG.
  • PUBG Corp. cites a desire to make the game easier for new players as the reason behind the decision.
  • With PUBG’s waning relevance in the face of other heavy-hitting battle royale shooters like Warzone, there’s a sense this is a desperate attempt to lure in new players.

PUBG Corp. has revealed that it is introducing bots for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in Update 7.1. The developer shared as much in a recent announcement on the official PUBG site.

Bots Head to PUBG on PS4 and Xbox One

PUBG points toward the need to cater to varying skill levels among gamers as the impetus behind the decision to introduce AI players.

More specifically, the hope is that bots will allow newcomers a fairer chance at the game without having to play catch up with others who’ve been playing since launch over three years ago. New players will be able to hone their skills in a far more forgiving environment.

PUBG console lead project manager Joon H. Choi explains:

We’re seeing more often that many newer players are being eliminated early with no kills – and oftentimes with no damage dealt. You’ve been telling us for a while that the widening skill gap is creating a more and more challenging environment for some of our players and we’re now ready to talk about our plan to help this. In an effort to provide more ways for players to hone their skills and be able to fully enjoy what PUBG has to offer, we’ve decided to introduce bots with Update 7.1.

PUBG Corp. notes that the bots will behave in a manner that favors beginners with a specific focus on how they move, shoot, and loot. For a more in-depth look at bot behavior, Choi offers some details into how this works in the update. Alongside the bots, the developer is introducing machine-learning to shape the AI moving forward.

Bots will generally only feature in low ranked matches with their presence determined based on MMR, meaning veteran players are less likely to encounter bots. This should preserve the competitive nature of games among the best PUBG players.

A Once-Mighty Battle Royale Suffers Waning Relevance

PUBG Corp. is trying to lure in a wave of new players to prop up a steadily declining player base. | Source: PUBG Corp.

While the introduction of bots should level the playing field for newcomers and offer them a chance at bagging a few kills and possibly a win or two, the timing is somewhat odd.

Given PUBG’s waning relevance as other heavy-hitters have taken the spotlight from the erstwhile premier battle royale shooter, there’s a sense PUBG Corp. is trying to lure in a wave of new players to prop up a steadily declining player base.

We’re a long shot from the heady days when PUBG was the go-to battle royale. Nowadays, the talk is of Call of Duty: Warzone and Valorant, with PUBG struggling to draw in 500,000 players on Steam.

Is the introduction of bots a desperate attempt to stay relevant and attract players? We’ll let you decide.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.

This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.

Thomas Bardwell @TomBWrites

UK-based video game writer. Contact: thomas.bardwell[at]ccn[dot]com

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