Here’s Why PUBG Mobile Bug Fixes Take So Long

We need to go deeper.

PUBG Mobile bugs are a dime a dozen, yet bug fixes are often slow to release. We, as players, are quick to say Tencent doesn’t care when it simply releases outfit after outfit instead while bugs remain a thing. Patches fix minor things, but can also introduce new ones. We call it greed, but Ocho from Tencent’s community team has another explanation.

To diffuse the situation surrounding Tencent’s alleged decision to focus on monetization over game quality, the community team jetted off to Tencent HQ to run some questions to the dev team and get some feedback. Writing the whole experience up on Reddit earlier this week, it all boils down to a simple human logistics issue and the complexity of the game development pipeline. Bug reports are better than nothing, but there’s a limited amount of manpower available, and not enough detailed bug reports to efficiently act upon.

PUBG Mobile van bug
Credit: u/SirJTM

“There are way more of you banging away at the game to find issues than we can ever hope to have in house,” said Ocho, referring to the 100,000 people subscribed to the PUBG Mobile subreddit.

When the QA team isn’t successfully squashing bugs in a new version before it goes live, they’re busy trying to recreate bugs that made it through the net. But the vast majority of bug reports or complaints that reach their ears don’t include enough detail. “Repro steps are the most useful thing you can have when you are digging for a bug.”

Fixing a bug means finding and tweaking what could be a single incorrect character in millions of lines of code, and if they can’t reproduce the bug in-house, the risk of breaking something else increases exponentially. It’s like a needle in a haystack moment, only without knowing how to recreate the bug, that haystack is a needlestack, and taking the wrong needle means introducing breaking something else.

For those constantly asking why PUBG Mobile gets a never-ending supply of new costumes while bugs persist, the answer is simple – they’re completely different people. An artist working on a new outfit isn’t going to be qualified or capable of fixing the game’s code. It’s just not how the world works. They could move artists onto QA, but what happens if they’ve never played the game before? QA isn’t as simple as just playing the game like normal, and throwing people from different departments into the role will not just be inefficient, but can easily disrupt the game further down the production pipeline.

Simply put, Tencent has the appropriate QA department working on catching gameplay bugs. But they need more detailed bug reports to speed up the process. “The Dev Team actively reads this sub”, confirmed Ocho. “They point out the specific threads… there’s a high likelihood that if you post, a dev is already reading it.”

Posting a picture of your car in mid-air with the headline “FIX THIS BUG” means nothing when it comes to coding. They need context. Your device. Your operating system version and connection speeds/type. Even something as seemingly mundane as hitting a rock with your car 3 seconds before it disappears can all be related to, or be the cause of, the bug flaring up.

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