PUBG Mobile Colorblind Mode Interview

March 13, 2020 at 3:00pm
By Jason Stettner

Interview with Eric Cleaver, Senior Community Manager at Tencent

A staple I do in all interviews in order to start things off is to ask that you elaborate a bit about your game (s) that people might not know?

Eric: One of the things that’s often overlooked is just how big our community is! We’re celebrating the second anniversary of PUBG Mobile on March 21, and in that time, the game has been downloaded over 600,000 times by players around the world.

Two years in, we’re still seeing 50 million people playing per day and 100 million per month. We’re really grateful that all these players are still with us on our journey and we hope they stick with us for years to come, as the dev team has some really great new things in store for the game.

Looking at the colorblind mode update to the game, what sort of options are present for those afflicted by color blindness?

Eric: When we started looking into Colorblindness, what we quickly discovered was that it’s not a single problem, but many types of color vision deficiencies that impact our players in a wide variety of ways.

Some players might have a hard time seeing red, which could cause them to unknowingly stumble into the red zone bombing areas, or a difficulty with blue, which makes the outlines of the dreaded Blue Zone hard to discern on the map. In the graphics settings, we’ve created several color palette variations (for example a yellow circle for bombing zones, or green for the “blue” zone) that accommodate the most common types of color vision deficiencies.

In addition, we did a full pass on optics in the game and made sure there was a wide variety of color options available for various reticles. Players can now select a reticle that will stand out for them in contrast to the environment, so they can use all the sighting options in game without penalty.
Eric Cleaver PUBG Mobile Colorblind Mode Interview
What prompted this update to the game, and do you believe this helps improve accessibility to the experience?

Eric: This feature actually came from a player request on Reddit, right after we added the Arena Team Deathmatch 4v4 mode into the game. Before matches in this mode, players are allowed to select the equipment they like from a table.Because of the diversity of equipment available in the game, there is no room for every possible option; instead we focus on creating a balanced competitive atmosphere with some of the most interesting and popular options.

A player posted about their difficulties using Red Dot sights and requested that Holo Sights be added to the tables as they had a green reticle rather than a red dot. This caught our attention, because if someone is having trouble with Red Dots in one portion of the game it generally means that lots of people have problems with Red Dots in all portions of the game. We talked to the player a bit longer, then took the idea to our Dev Team (who are avid Reddit readers themselves) along with some research we had done into the issues faced by players who have color vision deficiencies.

A Holo Sight would have been a quick fix, but with research we realized the full scope of how many people were potentially impacted by this issue and we wanted to do a much more comprehensive pass on areas of our game that could be creating difficulties for our players. Color blindness affects approximately 1 in 12 men (8%) and 1 in 200 women in the world, more than 300 million people with color blindness worldwide. With over 600 million global downloads of PUBG MOBILE, this means that as many as 18 million members of our community could be at a disadvantage while playing. So,we got Colorblind assist on the schedule and this update is the result!

Are there any other plans to increase accessibility within the game?

Eric: We’re always looking at ways to increase accessibility for our players.As one of the most popular games in the world, we want to create an inclusive atmosphere that supports all players. This includes things like visual notifications of sounds for hearing impaired players, a completely customizable layout and gyro controls for players who have different physical capabilities and more.

Another important consideration for accessibility is game performance and making sure that people can play PUBG MOBILE on an incredible variety of devices; PUBG MOBILE is definitely playable on many less-powerful phones and even a later generation iPod Touch. If there is something we can do to help players without compromising the competitive nature of PUBG MOBILE, we’re very interested!

In general, is there another recent PUBG Mobile update you’d like to highlight?

Eric: There are always constant new additions to PUBG MOBILE, whether it’s big flashy things like Payload Mode (where players can fly helicopters and utilize heavy ordinance) and Arena, or smaller things like changes to various weapons to keep the competitive metagame fresh. We definitely want to innovate on the types of activities that players can engage in and new modes allow people to experience PUBG MOBILE in completely different ways.

We’ve also had a huge focus lately on maintaining the integrity of the game and preventing people from using unauthorized methods to obtain unfair advantage. For veteran PUBG players, former PUBG MOBILE players or people completely new to the franchise, there has never been a better time to check PUBG MOBILE out!

Lastly I would like to leave a spot for you to say something or go over anything I might have missed during the interview?

Eric: One of the things that I think often gets missed is that even with a huge and very talented development team, making these sorts of additions to a deep high-quality game like PUBG MOBILE takes a significant amount of time.

First off is identifying every area of the game which could potentially be impacted, then creating a plan, getting it scheduled, assigning staff, running tests, and making sure that it truly addresses our players needs. Tencent has a long history of deep commitment to our players and their experiences, and so we don’t want to just apply band-aid fixes. We’re out there every day listening and working to incorporate your feedback. It takes time, but we’re dedicated to getting it right for you.

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Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner