In our past PUBG Mobile performance guide, we explained why the game’s graphics options should be largely ignored. You’re there to win, not to sightsee. But as it turns out, higher frame rates actually lead to faster weapons. Sometimes.
It wasn’t until the battle between the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X that the average gamer really started to wonder whether more “realistic” visuals were worth the choppy frame rate that came with them. It’s always been a no-brainer for professional gamers: frame rates affect competitive performance, graphics do not. But the reason usually boils down to a visual advantage; the ability to register movement and respond faster. For PUBG Mobile, reality itself changes as frame rates fluctuate.
Reddit user Fankish posted a chart to the popular board outlining data collected in the new 0.19.0 update. The colorful table is likely large enough for most players to ignore in favor of a quick meme, but the information it holds could explain a bunch of losses you deemed unfair in the heat of the moment. What it shows is the damage output of each weapon in relation to a player’s frame rate. As frame rates drop, so too does the effective fire rate of a weapon.
The point where this effect tends to be more noticeable is with high fire rate weapons like SMGs. While every gun was tested for the theory, it’s weapons like the P90, UZI, and Scorpion that see their effective DPS drop as frame rates decrease.
The Uzi, a popular submachine gun, posts a 524 DPS average at 60fps from an optimal distance. At 55fps, this drops to 503. Similarly, the UMP45 goes from a 410 DPS average at 60fps to a worrying lower 372 at 55fps. The Bizon actually gains damage at lower FPS, but it’s the only SMG to do so.
Seemingly affecting weapons with high rates of fire, the phenomenon affects common weapons like assault rifles, too: though, like the Bizon, some actually benefit from lost frames. The SCAR-L, for example, drops from 422 average to 383 as frame rates dip, whereas the M416, AUG, and G36C to name a few all see minor increases; from 422 to 436.
With a device that’s only scraping the barrel when it comes to 60fps, it’s at those crucial moments that your phone will struggle to keep up. A fight breaking out between two or more groups taxes your device more than simply loading in the world around you. It won’t often make a difference given how few shots it takes to down an opponent but be unlucky enough to hit that narrow window during a fight and that final shot could be lost to the void.
In most games, the frame rate should only limit what is perceived by the player, not what the game and server registers. In PUBG Mobile, frames seem tied to the reality of the game. If you’re displaying fewer frames per second, you’re dealing less damage. To a degree, at least.
PUBG on PC used to suffer from the same fatal design flaw until a patch was issued sometime last year. At the time of the fix, the development team put out this informative blog post explaining the issue, boiling it down to discrepancies between in-game timers and the functions they would execute after a preset time window.
They went so far to explain that PUBG initially didn’t allow for more than one bullet per frame; concluding that the design choice, paired with the way they live servers wait for instructions, would exacerbate the issue for weapons with increasingly higher rates of fire.
So what can you do to avoid the issue? You could check out the best budget smartphones for PUBG Mobile, for starters. If you’re not in the market for a new device, turn your graphics settings to the lowest and turn off visual niceties like shadows and anti-aliasing. It’s all in an effort to reduce the potential for FPS drops. Sure, the game won’t be pretty to look at, but is a pretty fir tree really worth the stress and anger of losing a match?
While the main takeaway from this is that PUBG Mobile‘s competitive hook was flawed from the get-go, what we need to know is how and when it’ll be fixed, and how the competitive disadvantage affects those running phones stuck at 30fps. If losing five frames has such an effect already, how are those running at half the sweet spot being shafted when it comes to competitive play?