Mobile Gaming on Emulators

The last time I played PUBG on a smartphone, I ended up cramping my finger on the small display. I got knocked out by a guy, who was one M24 shot away from becoming my prey (Call me a noob and that’s how my match ended).

That’s when I decided that I am done fidgeting on my mobile, it’s time to go old school. Not exactly old school as I was still going to be playing the mobile version albeit on my PC. I feel you must’ve come across certain YouTube streams of PUBG mobile/ COD mobile gameplay running on PC. You must have left confused as to how they actually do that. 

Let me introduce you to the world of emulators.

What is an emulator?

Mobile Gaming on Emulators: BlueStacks
An emulator’s homepage (source: BlueStacks)

Getting this first question out of systems right away:

An emulator software enables one system to behave like the other. In our case, the Windows or Mac OS to behave like an Android. There is a major attraction for emulators in the mobile gaming arena as the gamer can enjoy his gameplay on a bigger and in most cases, a better display.

Emulators have a huge user base mainly for gaming, testing applications as well as replicating an older system. Emulators are often confused with simulators. However, emulators are different from simulators in the respect that simulators imitate the inner functioning of a system whereas emulators focus on imitating the output of the system. 

Now before I go on selling you the idea of experiencing an emulator, let’s look at a few technical requirements (I wouldn’t advise you to have an emulator if otherwise)

Minimum requirements for running high graphic games on an emulator on PC

  1. OS: Microsoft Windows 7 and above.
  2. RAM: At least 3 GB 
  3. HDD: 1 GB Free Disk Space.
  4. Processor: Dual-core from Intel or AMD at 1.8 GHz.
  5. Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8600/9600GT, ATI/AMD Radeon HD2600/3600.
  6. DirectX: Version 9.0c.
  7. You must be an Administrator on your PC.
  8. Virtualization enabled on your PC

Another question itching might be why not directly go for PC games, right?

Why Emulating mobile games over PC games

There’s no doubt that PUBG in all its rights is an AAA game. 

So, these are the minimum requirements if you were to run PUBG’s PC version.

  1. OS: 64-bit Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10
  2. RAM: At least 8 GB
  3. HDD: 30 GB available space
  4. Processor: Intel Core i5-4430 / AMD FX-6300
  5. Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 2GB / AMD Radeon R7 370 2GB
  6. DirectX: Version 11

Clearly, the PC version demands a lot more juice than its mobile counterpart. 

Flagship games like PUBG have been developed with a lot of emphasis on graphics. So, these are bound to take a toll on your PC if it just doesn’t have the capacity to handle it. It is here where the concept of emulators gains weight. They’re light and as you’re installing the mobile versions, the games are much easier for your PC to handle. So, unless you are willing to spend big bucks or are looking to trade your pay-check, emulators are an economic option.

Games like PUBG and COD, have the same ranking system when it comes to emulators and mobile versions. However, the PC version has a different ranking system which means that not only will you have to start over but also you can’t play with a friend who’s using the mobile version.

All these factors have contributed to the popularity of emulators especially in Asia. Some emulators even have a larger user base as compared to the PC versions. That said if you already are a PC gamer, emulators might not be something you’re looking for.

Even though we’ve knocked off the basic question, you would still be wondering that if your game works fine on your smartphone then why go the extra mile for an emulator?

I have listed the pros and cons of using an emulator. I hope this helps you to come to an informed judgement.

Pros of an Emulator:

  • Larger display

When you play intense arcade games on your mobile, you’re expected to cram in as many fingers as you can. More often than not, you end pressing on the wrong area of the screen and may end up on the losing side in a game which was very well in your hands. With an emulator, you can play on a bigger screen and don’t have to worry about honing your piano skills on a device that’s barely bigger than your hands.

  • No storage issues

Another issue of playing games on your mobile is the constant necessity to keep track of your storage. You find yourself optimizing your storage more than you actually play. This issue is totally non-existent in the case of an emulator. However, this issue is non-persistent if you stick to a single game on your mobile device.

  • Battery drainage on smartphones

When subjected to the heavy battery draining apps, which most of the games are, there are chances of reduction in your phone’s battery life. Not to mention if you dedicate long hours in gaming, you may end up with some heating issues. Shifting your game base to the PC is a worthwhile solution to this.

  • Can handle high definition
Mobile Gaming on Emulators: BlueStacks 4
Source: Android Authority

It is very well established that PCs are more powerful compared to their handheld counterparts. This gives them an advantage in handling high definition video games without the fear of lag or stutter in the gameplay. 

Cons of an Emulator:

  • Might have to put money in a new computer

It may so happen that you might not own a computer that is compatible to run emulators smoothly. In such a case, buying a new computer can be (goes without saying) a bad idea if you’re only into mobile gaming.

  • Learn new controls
Mobile Gaming on Emulators: Keymapping
Keymapping on GameLoop (an emulator)

Now, if you already possess a good computer but don’t have any prior experience of say arcade or even racing games and have not mapped the controls yourself, you might have to sit around reading the controls panel on your emulator.

  • Damage to the keyboard

Have you seen your ragged-filled face during an intense gaming session (if not, ask someone to record you)? The same rage is also displayed when you press your control keys, especially if you’re into Asphalt or any racing game for that matter. 

Now, if you’re looking in the direction of getting an emulator you might have started contemplating the options available on the market. I would like to give you a headstart on that and introduce you to some of the emulators that I’ve been using.

Popular Emulators:

  1. Bluestacks

PUBG Mobile gameplay on Bluestacks:

Bluestacks is one of the oldest and most popular emulators that’s out there. Bluestacks claims to have more than 400 million users. You can install almost any android game for which it has specifically catering controls which can be customised to your preference.

It has a very friendly and simple to-use interface. The multi-instance manager lets you operate multiple applications at the same time or even use multiple accounts to access the same application. 

When in game, the keyboard control prompts are displayed on top of the usual controls in a way that doesn’t affect your gameplay. So, you don’t have to keep going back to the Controls Guide. Bluestacks also allows you to sync the apps on your phone with that on the emulator. If you’re someone who likes to record/stream your gameplay, the macro-recording feature will serve you well.

Mobile Gaming on Emulators: Multi-instance manager
Multi-Instance manager on BlueStacks

(PS: Bluestacks also has a paid version)

  1. GameLoop (Tencent Gaming Buddy)

PUBG Mobile gameplay on GameLoop:

With Tencent developing the mobile versions of both COD Mobile and PUBG Mobile, if you’re looking for an emulator that specifically caters to these games, GameLoop should be your choice. Tencent has gone on record to say that TGB is The Official Emulator for both COD as well as PUBGM. However, GameLoop’s library is not limited to only content published by Tencent. You can enjoy any title of your choice.

Along with the option of macro-recording, Tencent also boasts about an anti-cheat system that gets updated regularly by Tencent and it also features an AOW turbo engine that enriches the gaming experience.  It currently stands at 126 million downloads.

Mobile Gaming on Emulators
Mobile Gaming on Emulators
  1. Nox Player

PUBG Mobile gameplay on NOX player:

Nox Player is another emulator that was designed keeping gamers in mind with a smooth user interface. The entire internet community is divided on the presence of some potential malwares in Nox. However, there is no credible source for this.

Unlike Bluestacks and GameLoop, where you have to find your way to root the system, Nox Player has inbuilt settings in order for you to do the same. So you can go ahead and install any of the root apps you want. Like GameLoop and Bluestacks, Nox also provides the option for macro recording. It also along with Bluestacks, boasts about its multi-instance. 

Mobile Gaming on Emulators: Nox Player
Root Settings on Nox Player (Source:

It is especially very popular in Asia. However, Nox Player requires you to enable virtualization on your PC. 

You might also want to check out MEmu Play and KOplayer.

Overall, emulators are an experience worth having if you love gaming on big screens and know your way around a mouse and a keyboard.  With newer entrants, the old ones trying to legitimise their stronghold and not to mention the large user base, emulators are a very viable alternative to mobile gaming. So if you have a decent PC at home and want to shake things a little, emulators are worth your try.

Liked this piece? Also read: What to Look for When Purchasing a Budget Phone for Mobile Gaming?

Heet Mehta
Heet Mehta

This article was written by Heet who is currently an intern via Escribo. You may reach out to him through twitter

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