Playing PUBG Mobile on an emulator is easier than you might expect. Emulators were once synonymous in gaming communities as a way to play illegally obtained ROMs and ISO files. At one point the mere mention of using one would almost certainly be met with squinted eyes and LazyTown’s smash hit “You Are a Pirate” playing on repeat. But in the advent of F2P games – especially on mobile – Android emulators are a dime a dozen and can be a godsend for those of us who just can’t transfer our mouse/keyboard skills to the touchscreen devices lining our pockets.
But with so many Android emulators out there, which is the budding PUBG Mobile professional to choose? Let’s just clear one thing up before we divulge that curiosity: properly sanctioned PUBG Mobile esports events like the ESL Open utterly forbid playing on an emulator. Or a tablet, for that matter. If you just can’t play the original PUBG on your PC for whatever reason, PUBG Mobile on an emulator is the next best thing.
We’ve tested out the bigger name Android emulators and whittled down our findings to bring you the definitive guide to PUBG Mobile emulators. These are the best emulators for PUBG Mobile:
Tencent Gaming Buddy
Yeah, that’s right; Tencent made their own Android emulator almost exclusively for PUBG Mobile. Makes sense from a business standpoint, right? The game already matches you based on platform, so giving keyboard/mouse users an easier way to do just that wasn’t exactly going to taint the matchmaking queue.
Tencent Gaming Buddy is by far the easiest of these three emulators to set up. Just download it, install it, grab PUBG Mobile from the menu, and away you go. There’s honestly not much reason to use anything else at this point. The game runs like a dream and the controls are automatically mapped to a layout close to most other shooters on PC. There are some questionable keybinds by default, but changing them is a simple trip into the settings menu. If you are having some kind of trouble, just make sure the controls pre-set in-game is set to the first option.
After that, mess around with your graphical settings. ‘HD’ graphics and ‘Ultra’ framerate should be fine for most PCs, but those looking for the smoothest competitive experience should opt for ‘Smooth’ graphics and the exclusive ‘Extreme’ frame rate option.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is how you import your account. Google Play services aren’t automatically installed here, so your log-in options will be limited. You’ll have no issue logging into your usual account if its linked to a social platform like Twitter or Facebook. But if you’re hoping to just log in through Google and pick up where you left off, you’ll have to jump through some hoops.
This well-known Android emulator typically has a lot going for it, but it’s not the simplest PUBG Mobile emulator experience available now that Tencent’s own is on the scene.
Bluestacks thrives on Virtualization tech and will scream at you to enable it. It’s necessary for the emulator to put more than one of your CPU cores to good use, speeding up the overall experience. Virtualization is usually hidden away in your PC’s BIOS under a bunch of different names. Just google your motherboard and processor brand to figure out what to look out for. Once that’s done, hop into the Bluestacks settings and give it access to around four CPU cores and 4086MBs of memory (if you have it). Bluestacks will take as much as you can throw at it, and you want the smoothest experience you can get.
With all that done and PUBG Mobile downloaded from the included Google Play store, it’s time to fire up the game. Just like Tencent Gaming Buddy, hop into the in-game settings and go for ‘Smooth’ graphics and ‘Extreme’ framerate. If blades of grass have become grotesque rectangular shapes, you might want to turn off anti-aliasing. At least it might net you a couple extra frames.
As for controls, things tend to get a little messy here. Bluestacks includes a PUBG Mobile pre-set that’s applied when you fire up the game, but my experience with it has been a mixed bag. It’s like it just changes on the fly. You might have a better time with it, but the biggest thing to keep in mind is that your Bluestacks resolution should always match the chosen resolution of the settings to ensure your keys line up with the on-screen buttons.
You’ll probably need to open up the little keyboard menu a fair few times to memorize every key, but you’re free to change them if you want. You can toggle an on-screen HUD to serve as a reminder, too, and tweak the opacity of the overlay so that it’s not too intrusive to have hang around.
Nox Player 6
Nox Player 6 has its fans, but it’s not the most intuitive way to quickly dive into PUBG Mobile. The game doesn’t seem to show up in the included app store, so you’ll have to grab the official APK from the game’s official website. Just grab that, drag the file into the Nox Player window, and it should install in a minute or two.
Just like Bluestacks, Nox Player attempts to apply a PUBG Mobile appropriate control scheme when you fire it up. So long as you select a graphics mode that matches the resolution of your Nox Player window, you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting the on-screen buttons to line up with your keystrokes. As tempting as that 2K mode is, it’s more hassle than it’s worth.
But after that, things just aren’t as straight-forward as both Bluestacks and Tencent Gaming Buddy. I couldn’t easily figure out how to close the intrusive key reminders cluttering the screen, and I couldn’t leave “fire mode” after I accidentally entered it. That ~ key wasn’t doing anything, and even remapping it wasn’t as simple as it looked.
For what it’s worth, Nox Player 6 appeared more graphically optimized than Bluestacks. At least with minimal input. The game looked great and ran great. It’s just a shame actually playing it takes a bit more time than the others.
Disclaimer: Fanbyte is owned by Tencent, which also runs Tencent Games, developer and publisher of PUBG Mobile. Tencent also subsidizes much of Fanbyte’s PUBG Mobile coverage by covering freelancer budget costs. Those covering PUBG Mobile for the site have no contact with Tencent, however, and are given complete creative control to write whatever they wish.