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Fortnite vs PUBG: Ten mobile differences between the two biggest battle royales

Here are all the features that make the two leading mobile battle royale games unique.

Published onFebruary 27, 2020

PUBG vs Fortnite

The fight for battle royale supremacy has entered a new arena, with both PUBG Mobile and Fortnite vying for a bigger piece of the mobile gaming pie.

Both games are enormously popular and are clear pioneers of the genre, but in spite of their obvious similarities, there are some key differences between the two biggest battle royale titles for mobile devices (besides the fact that only one of them is available on the Play Store).

Of course, a comparison between Fortnite vs PUBG can’t definitively say which game is better, since many of the differences are stylistic. Both games are great, and judging by the rate at which they are updated, the best is yet to come.

Fortnite vs PUBG: Visual style

fortnite vs pubg visual style first scene

Both Fortnite Mobile and PUBG Mobile are faithful recreations of their PC counterparts, and that includes their distinct visual styles.

Tencent’s Lightspeed and Quantum Studios have simplified the realistic graphics of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds for the mobile version, but the essence is still there. The characters, maps, and guns are all realistic.

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Gaming Phones test playing Call of Duty Mobile lobby screen

Fortnite, on the other hand, takes a more cartoony approach. Everything is bright and colorful as if it were torn from a Dreamworks film. Some weapons are based on real weapons, but others seem straight out of Looney Tunes like the temporary “Egg Launcher” reskin of the grenade launcher — and that’s without getting into the shopping carts, launch pads, and jet packs in the limited time modes.

The difference between Fortnite and PUBG is best summed up by a players first 30 seconds in a match. In PUBG Mobile, players parachute out of a cargo plane onto sprawling islands with military bases and power plants. In Fortnite, players skydive out of a bus strapped to a massive balloon, breaking their fall with an umbrella or futuristic glider.

Fortnite vs PUBG: Gameplay

Fortnite Battle Royale opening scene

Neither game invented the battle royale formula, but the basic free-for-all gameplay is the same. In the most popular mode, players are dropped onto an island with 99 other opponents. From there you collect weapons and other gear to fight until the last man (or woman) is standing.

The playzone (also known as the circle) also grows smaller and smaller, forcing the remaining players closer to one another. The area outside the playzone deals constant damage, and should be avoided at all costs. PUBG further limits the play area with red zones, where bombs drop from the sky that will instantly kill any player outside of cover.

PUBG Mobile is intense and gun fights give a real sense that death is imminent

A comparison between the gameplay of Fortnite vs PUBG follows along the same lines as their visuals. PUBG is intense and gun fights give a real sense that death is imminent, whereas Fortnite gives players a lot more room to manoeuvre and play creatively.

Much of that manoeuvrability comes from the fact that players in Fortnite can build structures using resources collected by hammering away at trees, rocks, or buildings. If caught in an open field, a quick 1×1 tower will provide enough time to assess the situation or med up. That said, building in Fortnite mobile is much more difficult than on PC.

On the contrary, getting caught unaware in PUBG Mobile is almost certain death. As a result, most people play more cautiously, hiding behind trees or in the brush. Unlike Fortnite, players can lay prone on the ground while they line up their next headshot.

You can play cautiously in Fortnite as well, but more often than not players simply run towards the action. Even the most carefully constructed fort can be destroyed with a few hits from a rocket or grenade launcher, so it’s usually better to stay on the move. Fortune favors the bold in Fortnite.

Fortnite vs PUBG: Controls

PUBG mobile gameplay hud

The controls are where it’s really apparent which company has more experience making mobile games. Tencent is the undisputed king of mobile games, and PUBG Mobile reflects that in spades.

As far as controls on mobile shooters go, you’d be hard pressed to find a better system than the one used in PUBG Mobile. Plus, there are several control schemes built in, with the option to completely customize them to your liking. If you want to play on PC, the official PUBG Mobile emulator makes it even easier.

Fortnite eventually added some control customization, but the default controls leave something to be desired. Part of this is due to the more complicated nature of the game, with building, setting traps, and so on, but some of it is due to specific design decisions.

What kind of monster puts the jump button below the crouch button?

For example, in order to build, which is Fortnite’s signature feature that sets it apart from other battle royale games, you have to first tap a button to enter build mode. This takes you out of combat mode, and although you can still shoot you can’t change weapons, reload, or use your scope.

Also, what kind of monster puts the jump button below the crouch button? One goes up, one goes down. It shouldn’t be this hard.

Thankfully, both games have added controller support since they came out, so any compatible bluetooth controller should work. If you don’t want to use a full blown controller, pick up some triggers like the ones featured below.

Emish mobile game triggers
Emish mobile game triggers
Cheap and cheerful game triggers
If you don't want to carry a full bluetooth controller in your bag but still want to gain an upper hand in PUBG , Fortnite, or CoD Mobile, these simple game triggers will do the trick. They clip onto the top of your phone so you can shoot and move without resorting to awkward claw grip techniques.

Fortnite vs PUBG: Cross-platform experience

One major difference between Fortnite and PUBG is how connected the mobile titles are with the PC titles they’re based on. PUBG Mobile is a standalone game developed apart from the PC version, and Fortnite on mobile is essentially the same as the other versions of the game.

Player accounts, progress, skins, and so on are shared between platforms on Fortnite, so no matter where you play you’ll have the same items. Players can even play alongside their friends on Xbox, PS4, Switch, or PC right from their mobile device.

More: Fortnite cross platform guide: Play with everyone

Thankfully, mobile solo players will never be stomped by mouse and keyboard using PC players in Fortnite. Competitors are determined by parties, so mobile-only players will play with other mobile players, parties with console players will play with both mobile and console players, and parties with PC players will get matched with all of the above.

For what it’s worth, the PUBG Mobile developers are also committed to keeping pure mobile players separate from PC emulator users. That said, most matches have fewer than 100 real players due to the next item on the list.

Fortnite vs PUBG: Bots

PUBG Mobile’s decision to introduce bots into the battle royale formula was certainly controversial, but it’s also one of the main things that separated it from Fortnite.

A player’s first few matches only have ten to twenty human players, with the rest of the game populated by bots. Even after you’ve got a few games under your belt, don’t expect more than half of your opponents to have a pulse (unless playing in a custom game).

Think twice before bragging about winning a chicken dinner on your first try

Fortnite initially had no bots, but recently added them in with the start of Chapter 2. It was somewhat controversial, but it does significantly lower the learning curve for new players. Bots give a chance to practice and get a few kills before succumbing to the harsh reality of a battle royale.

No one wants to get knocked out in the first few seconds of each match, but think twice before bragging about winning a chicken dinner on your first try.

Fortnite vs PUBG: Maps and game modes

One major difference between Fortnite and PUBG is the number of maps and game modes they offer. Fortnite uses the exact same map as the PC version, which changes slightly as the game evolves.

The Fortnite map changes with each new season, often adding or removing entire areas. This keeps gameplay fresh, although there will likely never be a second map for players to explore, aside from other modes like Creative and Save the World.

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Fortnite Season 7 Battle pass skins

That said, Fortnite does occasionally offer limited time game modes, such as 50 vs 50 or sniper shootout. They spice up the game a bit for a while, and disappear before getting stale.

PUBG instead offers several different maps — Erangel, Miramar, Vikendi, and Sanhok. PUBG Mobile also has a mobile-only arcade mode with fewer players to bring matches down to a more mobile-friendly duration.

Fortnite vs PUBG: Getting around the map

Pubg mobile driving - fortnite vs pubg

Both games give players the ability to get around the map quickly, but they go about it in very different ways. Keeping with the theme, PUBG Mobile stays true to life by placing cars and motorcycles around the map. They can explode upon taking too much damage, and run out of gas after covering long distances.

PUBG Mobile tips and tricks: How to survive and win a battle royale

Fortnite takes a different approach. In addition to vehicles like golf carts and quad bikes, Fortnite also has items that can increase your avatar’s movement speed and distance like jump pads, which launch your character into the air to glide your way across the map.

Both games also feature auto-move to give your thumbs a rest. But again, crossing open fields in PUBG Mobile is a lot more dangerous than it is in Fortnite, so proceed with caution.

Fortnite vs PUBG: Auto pick up and other mobile-only features

PUBG mobile autoloot auto pick up - fortnite mobile vs pubg mobile

Both PUBG Mobile and Fortnite add a few mobile-only features to make the game more playable on touchscreen devices. These include aim assist, directional indicators, and auto pick-up.

The directional indicators are virtually identical in both games, and show which direction shots or footsteps come are coming from to help players without headphones. Fortnite features an additional golden indicator for chests containing powerful weapons and loot.

More: PUBG vs PUBG mobile: the ten biggest differences

In practice the indicators work better in PUBG, since in Fortnite gameplay is more three-dimensional. Players can build up and down, and the indicators are simply unable to provide that kind of information. You won’t know if a player is above or below you until it’s too late.

Auto pick-up is also similar between the two, and will pick up weapons, items, and meds to fill up your inventory. In Fortnite it also picks up building materials, and in PUBG Mobile it picks up and equips attachments for your guns as well as higher level armor and backpacks.

Fortnite vs PUBG: Monetization

fortnite mobile vs pubg mobile

Another difference between Fortnite and PUBG is how they’ve chosen to monetize their content.

First of all, both mobile games are completely free and purchased content is limited to cosmetics that offer no competitive advantage. Fortnite has a lot more to offer in that regard, with tons of skins, dances, emotes, and now sprays to unlock. Some of these can be unlocked by playing, and others will need to be purchased.

Both games are completely free and purchased content is limited to cosmetics that offer no competitive advantage

Fortnite is divided into seasons, so every 70 days or so a new Battle Pass will need to be purchased in order to level up faster and unlock that season’s unique rewards. It’s quite a grind to unlock all of them, but fortunately your progress is shared account wide so you don’t have to start over if you’ve played the PC version.

It might not sound that exciting, but a lot of the unlockables are really cool. Epic Games has also been really good at incorporating ideas from their community, so it’s filled with inside jokes and memes. But really, no one wants to be a lowly no-skin.

PUBG Mobile, on the other hand, initially opted for a more traditional look box system for cosmetic items like parachutes, jackets, and basic apparel. However, as of update 0.6.0 it features the same Battle Pass system (here called Royale Pass) that Epic Games has used to fill its coffers.

Fortnite vs PUBG – Performance

Fortnite build fort

PUBG Mobile and Fortnite run on the tried-and-tested Unreal Engine 4, which was actually created by Fortnite’s Epic Games. As such, it’s not surprising that both PUBG and Fortnite hit the ground running and were highly optimized right out of the gate on PC.

In fact, one of the main things that lead to Fortnite overtaking PUBG in the first place (other than being free) was that it can be played on much less powerful PCs than PUBG.

Both games will drain your battery faster than you can say winner winner chicken dinner

That said, Epic Games hasn’t taken the same efforts to make Fortnite available on mobile devices. It famously isn’t on the Google Play Store, so you’ll have to sideload it if you want to play on Android. Fortnite is compatible with any Android device that meets the minimum hardware and software requirements below:

  • Android 8.0 Oreo or higher
  • 3GB of free onboard storage
  • At least 4GB of system RAM
  • GPU requirements: Qualcomm Adreno 530 or higher, ARM Mali-G71 MP20, ARM Mali-G72 MP12 or higher

Fortnite on mobile does look remarkably similar to the PC version, but there are also options to tweak your graphics settings to improve performance.

PUBG Mobile offers robust graphics settings to adapt it to just about any device. Unlike the PC version on release, it’s fairly well-optimized, although low-res textures do take away from the realistic feel of the game. For those with extremely low-end or old devices, there’s also PUBG Mobile Lite, which runs on just about any device.

Lightspeed and Quantum Studios has pushed out several updates to PUBG Mobile to include both higher and lower-end Android devices. However, both games will drain your battery faster than you can say winner winner chicken dinner.

Read also: How to fix Android battery drain issues and extend battery life

Fortnite vs PUBG: Conclusion

So which game is better when it comes to Fortnite vs PUBG? Both games are great (and free), but offer decidedly different battle royale experiences.

PUBG Mobile arguably does a little more to adapt its gameplay experience to touchscreen controls and has more maps, but Fortnite has much deeper lore and the seasonal weapon and item additions keep fans coming back for more.

Who do you think will come out on top in the battle royale of Fortnite and PUBG? Let us know in the comments!

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