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PUBG — the newest major esports discipline

Posted Mar 30, 2018

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is the game that changed the world. Bluehole Corporation and Brendan Green, the creator of Battle Royale, revolutionized the gaming industry a year ago. Several years ago the world was full with MOBA, while now the whole gaming became infected with the new genre — Battle Royale in a short moment became the most popular game genre. The peak of the popularity of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has already passed, but Brendan Green has an advantage. The creators of PUBG decided to make a new esports discipline — and succeeded.

The PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has a lot of unique features as a esports discipline. For example, this game has many popular streamers and mostly all of them take part in tournaments. They often stream their tournament’s matches, thereby capturing an additional audience for PUBG. Esports Charts statistics takes into account such moments.

The first PUBG tournament took place in August 2017. Even then it became clear that a huge community of Battle Royale fans is interested in professional games. Despite the numerous problems and inexperience of the organizers, Gamescom PUBG Invitational 2017 was quite a successful tournament. It became clear that PUBG esports is quite possible.

There was a series of PUBG tournaments in 2018, but only three of them are really important.

Polish city Katowice had a real esports fiesta in 2018 — three major tournaments in three popular disciplines (Dota, PUBG and CSGO) passed one by one in the same city. CSGO and Dota 2 were hosted in the one stadium, while the uniqueness of PUBG format (100 players on the map) required a different location.

IEM Katowice 2018 was hold in a huge International Conference Center with 12,000 spectator’s seats. PUBG and Dota 2 tournaments were held parallel on February 24-25. Most likely it influenced the tournament’s popularity. In addition, the tournament was broadcasted by Huomao in China, which couldn’t attract attention of Chinese community.

The next tournament was the StarSeries i-League PUBG 2018. Right now it can be called the most important championship in the history of PUBG as an esports discipline. The Ukrainian organization Starladder demonstrated the highest responsibility as made very atmospheric and functional arena for players and viewers.

Brendan Green personally visited Kiev and took part in the opening of this tournament. A lot of teams demonstrated high performance thus attracted a lot of fans. All this together transformed StarSeries i-League PUBG 2018 into really huge event. The most shocking is the amount of Chinese viewers — despite the failure of teams from China, the Chinese commenting studio ImbaTV was able to attract a lot of attention of viewers and fans from China.

The last PUBG tournament — PGL PUBG Spring Invitational 2018, was held in PGL Studios, Bucharest at the end of March. Tournament didn’t have offline viewers, thematic design together with technical problems did their job — the amount of viewers compared to StarSeries i-League PUBG 2018 fell significantly. Nevertheless, the numbers are still impressive.  

The future of PUBG as a esports discipline is hazy. If major PUBG tournaments will be held regularly and in the discipline will stable somehow, then the growth will be noticeable. We know that the nearest major tournament will be DreamHack Austin 2018 on 1-3 June. Esports Charts will continue to monitor the newest major esports discipline.

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