PUBG is an online multiplayer battle royale game developed and published by PUBG Corporation, a subsidiary of South Korean video game company Bluehole. The game is based on previous mods that were created by Brendan "PlayerUnknown" Greene for other games, inspired by the 2000 Japanese film Battle Royale, and expanded into a standalone game under Greene's creative direction. In the game, up to one hundred players parachute onto an island and scavenge for weapons and equipment to kill others while avoiding getting killed themselves. The available safe area of the game's map decreases in size over time, directing surviving players into tighter areas to force encounters. The last player or team standing wins the round.
Battlegrounds is a player versus player shooter game in which up to one hundred players fight in a battle royale, a type of large-scale last man standing deathmatch where players fight to remain the last alive. Players can choose to enter the match solo, duo, or with a small team of up to four people. The last person or team alive wins the match.Every few minutes, the playable area of the map begins to shrink down towards a random location, with any player caught outside the safe area taking damage incrementally, and eventually being eliminated if the safe zone is not entered in time; in game, the players see the boundary as a shimmering blue wall that contracts over time. This results in a more confined map, in turn increasing the chances of encounters. During the course of the match, random regions of the map are highlighted in red and bombed, posing a threat to players who remain in that area. In both cases, players are warned a few minutes before these events, giving them time to relocate to safety. A plane will fly over various parts of the playable map occasionally at random, or wherever a player uses a flare gun, and drop a loot package, containing items which are typically unobtainable during normal gameplay. These packages emit highly visible red smoke, drawing interested players near it and creating further confrontations. On average, a full round takes no more than 30 minutes.
Battlegrounds represents the standalone version of what Greene believes is the "final version" of the battle royale concept, incorporating the elements he had designed in previous iterations. Faster development was possible with the game engine Unreal Engine 4, compared with ARMA and H1Z1, which were built with proprietary game engines. Greene acknowledged that implementing the size of the maps in Battlegrounds has been one of the challenges with working with Unreal, which was not designed with such maps in mind. The game was designed as a mix between the realistic simulation of ARMA 3 and the arcade-like action focus and player accessibility of H1Z1. To prevent in-game cheating, the game uses the "BattlEye" anti-cheating software, which had permanently banned over 13 million players by October 2018. BattlEye indicated that 99% of all cheating software for the game was developed in China.
Following the Chinese publication deal for the Windows version, Tencent Games and PUBG Corporation additionally announced that they were planning on releasing two mobile versions based on the game in the country. The first, PUBG: Exhilarating Battlefield, is an abridged version of the original game, and was developed by LightSpeed & Quantum Studio, an internal division of Tencent Games. The second, PUBG: Army Attack, includes more arcade-style elements, including action taking place on warships, and was developed by Tencent's Timi Studio. Both versions are free-to-play, and were released for Android and iOS devices on February 9, 2018. The games had a combined total of 75 million pre-registrations, and ranked first and second on the Chinese iOS download charts at launch. Following a soft launch in Canada, an English version of Exhilarating Battlefield, localized simply as PUBG Mobile, was released worldwide on March 19, 2018. In China, PUBG Mobile had been awaiting approval by the government for an authorized released, during which the game could only be offered as a public test. However, Tencent's planned release was suspended due to the government approval freeze across most of 2018. By May 2019, Tencent announced it would no longer seek to publish PUBG Mobile in China, but instead would re-release the game under the title, Game for Peace that readily meets China's content restrictions, such as eliminating blood and gore. A version meant for lower-end mobile devices which features a smaller map made for 60 players, PUBG Mobile Lite, was released on July 25, 2019.
The game has also gained multiple award from individual press. Battlegrounds won the award for "Best PC Game", "Best Multiplayer", and "Best Spectator Game" at the IGN Best of 2017 Awards, whereas its other nominations were for "Game of the Year" and "Best Shooter". It also won the award for "Best PC Game" at Destructoid's Game of the Year Awards 2017. The game also won Giant Bomb's "Best Multiplayer", "Best Surprise", "Best Debut", and "Game of the Year" awards, and was classified as a runner-up for the "Best Moment or Sequence" award for the "chicken-eating game". Eurogamer ranked PUBG fourth on their list of the "Top 50 Games of 2017", while GamesRadar+ ranked it 12th on their list of the 25 Best Games of 2017. Game Informer gave it the award each for "Best Competitive Multiplayer" and "Best Shooter" in their Best of 2017 Awards, and also for "Best Competitive Multiplayer", "Best Multiplayer Map" (Erangel), "Best Innovation", and "Shooter of the Year" in their 2017 Shooter of the Year Awards. In their Reader's Choice Best of 2017 Awards, the game won the "Best Competitive Multiplayer" award, and was runner-up in the "Best Microsoft Exclusive" and "Best Shooter" categories.