PUBG Mobile comes to the West with a 'soft launch' in Canada

A mobile version of Playerunknown's Battlegrounds rolled out in China recently, bringing the groundbreaking battle royale experience to anyone with a decent phone and a passing interest in playing it. Nothing was said about a Western release at the time but it looks like it's going to happen, because a beta version of the game soft-launched today on the Google Play Store in Canada. 

A "soft launch" is a bit like an early access release: Developers put their game out in a regional store to test stability and gauge interest before moving into a wide release. It's a fairly common practice in the mobile game business, and Canada is often the beneficiary. 

This particular soft launch is good news for two reasons. First, barring an unforeseen disaster it means that PUBG will officially be released on mobile devices in the West, and second, if you don't live here but you want to play it now, you can do so by either changing your Play Store region, or grabbing the APK—a downloadable Android archive that can be installed with a file manager. 

As for the game itself, it's definitely PUBG, and it runs pretty well on a a Samsung Galaxy S7. The audio through the phone's speaker isn't great and of course the touchscreen controls are awful, but it runs smoothly and it looks good. I didn't play enough to judge how well it matches up with the PC version, but fellow Canadian Steven jumped in to play it this afternoon. You can read his thoughts here or just watch his lovely video below.

Our video showing off PUBG Mobile and Steven's thoughts after an afternoon of playing.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.