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Published: May 30, 2024

Written by: Barney

When it comes to some of the biggest names in mobile gaming, one might quickly think of PUBG Mobile and Free Fire. Both of these battle royals are two of the most popular mobile games currently on the market, so it’s no surprise they are often the subject of various “Free Fire vs PUBG Mobile” discussions.

While players will have their preferences as both titles have their respective pros and cons, many new players might wonder which of the games should they pick. Obviously, they can play both games, but a lot of gamers simply may not have the time to devote to two titles or would prefer one over the other. In this article, we will try to give you a brief overview of the two games so that you can better judge which one to pick based on your preferences. 

What Are Both Games?

Before we start comparing Free Fire vs PUBG Mobile, we need to give a little background of the games. Free Fire is the older of the two having been released on December 8 2017 for Android and iOS and was developed by Garena. It became the most downloaded mobile game globally in 2019 and currently, it has over 1 billion downloads on the Google Play store. In November 2019, it surpassed $1 billion in lifetime revenue, and as of 2021, Free Fire had surpassed 150 million daily active users.

PUBG Mobile doesn’t lag far behind in terms of numbers. The game was developed by LightSpeed & Quantum Studio, a division of Tencent Games, and was released for Android and iOS on March 19, 2018. Multiple publishers, including Krafton, Tencent, and VNG Games, have published the title in different regions, leading to a very high player count. By December 2022, PUBG Mobile had accumulated around 1.3 billion downloads while grossing over $9 billion in revenue.

Judging by these numbers alone, it’s hard to say which game is better. However, perhaps that is the wrong question, as both games differ in many other ways, making for a hard time comparing them. Despite being perhaps the most popular mobile battle royals, both titles have some significant differences, which we will look at now.

Free Fire vs PUBG Mobile Gameplay

Starting with perhaps the most important aspect of any game. Free Fire has a more cartoonish and animated gameplay. This is done to keep the game attractive to new gamers while keeping its system requirements low, which makes Free Fire a much more accessible title. Furthermore, the game has several quirky game mechanics, such as the deployable Gloo Wall which provides an unrealistic approach to the game. In that case, Free Fire is more similar to another popular battle royal, Fortnite, than it is to PUBG Mobile.

Speaking of PUBG, the game offers a more realistic approach in general. In its ranked mode, there are no special effects that seem unrealistic. Additionally, there is more detailing and focus on the gameplay mechanics. The same can be said about the guns and graphics, which we will talk about next.

Free Fire vs PUBG Mobile Graphics

As we mentioned, Free Fire has a more cartoonish aesthetic to it, this being both a stylistic choice and a way to keep the title able to run on lower-end devices. The game is made on Unity. This engine is also often used in PC games, be it on a much smaller scale. A downside of that is that the graphics are not as detailed, but that’s also partly a stylistic choice, as we mentioned.

By contrast, PUBG Mobile is powered by Unreal Engine, a series of engines famous for enabling some of the most detailed graphics in modern-day video games and animations. This engine is used not just for mobile but PC games too, so it ensures smooth gameplay while retaining exceptional graphics. This is coupled with the overall more realistic look of PUBG Mobile to provide a different visual experience. Of course, the downside is that the game is harder to run on lower-end devices, making it less accessible than Free Fire.

Free Fire vs PUBG Mobile Weapons

In PUBG Mobile, there are 9 different categories of weapons which include melee weapons, pistols, shotguns, submachine guns, assault rifles, DMRs, sniper rifles, crossbows, and machine guns. Most are based on real-life firearms, adding to the more realistic nature of the game. Additionally, each weapon can be equipped with a variety of attachments and upgrades, such as scopes, grips, and others. The game also has a few throwable items such as smoke grenades and Molotov cocktails.

Free Fire doesn’t look too shabby when it comes to the variety and number of guns either. Like PUBG Mobile, it also features weapons in the above-mentioned categories. However, although most of these guns are rather realistic, Free Fire also features some more sci-fi-ish weapons such as the Treatment Laser Gun and the Treatment Pistol. As the names suggest, these items can heal teammates when you shoot them. 

Free Fire vs PUBG Mobile Game Modes

Both games offer a variety of game modes, each one sporting its own features and quirks. In terms of numbers, PUBG mobile has more, which are distributed in the following types and their subdivisions:

  • Arcade (Quick Match, War, Sniper Training)
  • EvoGround (Payload 2.0)
  • Arena (Training, Team Deathmatch, Assault, Domination, Gun Game)

However, Free Fire also offers quite thew variety when it comes to game modes, although the number is not as high as PUBG’s modes. Free Fire features:

  • Classic
  • Ranked
  • Clash Squad
  • Rampage 2.0
  • Kill Secured
  • Bomb Squad
  • Gun King
  • Big Head

Free Fire vs PUBG Mobile Maps

Another crucial feature of both games’ gameplay is their maps and their size. Both titles offer a variety of playable maps, although PUBG Mobile seems to have a bit more variety. The game features both very large maps like Erangel and some rather small ones like Livik. Meanwhile, Free Fire focuses on relatively smaller maps, which offer quicker and more intense experiences overall.

PUBG Mobile’s maps are:

  • Erangel – an island with a smaller island to the south of it. It has many grassy areas and also forest ones in which one can find many houses.
  • Karakin – it is a fictional desert island inspired by North Africa.
  • Miramar – a large 8x8km map inspired by Mexico. Contains lots of variable terrain with some dense areas of buildings.
  • Sanhok – a fictional tropical island inspired by Jungles and Islands in Thailand and the Philippines.
  • Vikendi – a fictional snowy island inspired by various Canadian, Central European, and Eastern European settings.
  • Nusa – the smallest of all the PUBG Maps. It features a 1x1km playable area inspired by a tropical resort.
  • Livik – another small map featuring an area of 2x2km. It can only house up to 52 players (or 13 teams) in a single lobby.

Free Fire’s maps are:

  • Bermuda – the first map of the game, which is also still preferred by many players
  • Purgatory – a map with a “countryside” vibe. It has a large river that separates it into several parts.
  • Kalahari – inspired by the real-life desert in Afrika. It also features a lot of buildings, trees, and valleys for cover
  • Bermuda Remastered – a full remaster of the classic map.
  • Alpine – one of the game’s larger maps, it’s inspired by the Alps, as the name suggests.
  • Nexterra – a futuristic map featuring many roads and built-up areas.

Free Fire vs PUBG Mobile Vehicles

Both games have maps big enough that it would be rather inconvenient to have to traverse them all on foot. Fortunately, both titles have a wide variety of vehicular options available for players to use. That being said, PUBG Mobile has a bit more vehicles than Free Fire. Furthermore, Free Fire only allows players to purchase motorcycles and cars, while PUBG Mobile covers water vehicles too, meaning you can traverse water just as easily as land in the latter game.

Free Fire vs PUBG Mobile Player Numbers

Each game in Free Fire features 50 players, meaning that games tend to last shorter, on average, compared to PUBG. PUBG Mobile, on the other hand, usually has 100 players in a game. This can either be in the form of teams of four or two as well as solo players. Ideally, in competitive matches, though, there are 16 squads consisting of four members each. However, as we’ve seen in the maps section of the article, some games could also have a lower number of players, as it was in the case with Livik.

Free Fire vs PUBG Mobile Characters

This is one of those areas where both games differ quite a bit. Of the two, Free Fire has a lot more variety in this metric as it features an extensive system with over 50 unique characters. Each character has a unique skill which can be active or passive. Active skills can be triggered manually by an in-game button and passive skills are triggered automatically. Each character can equip 4 skills including the character’s skill and 3 skills from other characters (one active skill and three passive skills can be equipped by a single character). Additionally, each character has a unique backstory and was inspired by real-life celebrities whom Free Fire had collaborations with.

Meanwhile, PUBG Mobile doesn’t have such a complex character system. Playable characters do not have backstories or unique skills and names. Instead, they are simply avatars, but players can still change their appearance in the game.

ConclusionWhile on the surface, both games seem very similar, a more substantial look at them will make out the many differences that they have. The Free Fire vs PUBG Mobile discussion is common amongst both player bases, but the fact is that both titles feature aesthetics, mechanics, weapons, and systems that the other does not have. Ultimately, the choice between the two games depends on what you find more interesting. There are many people that play both and there is no rule against liking both games.

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