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PUBG Cell is a large gaming property with greater than $6 billion in lifetime participant spending. And whereas a lot of that success has been in Asia, Tencent continues to put money into making the cellular sport extra fashionable in North America and Western markets.
One of many methods it’s doing that’s by investing closely in PUBG Cell esports. And the PUBG Cell Professional League North America 2021 occasion bought underway this weekend. The finals of Season 2 for the Americas occasion has 20 groups competing for the championship, which has a $6 million prize pool this 12 months, in comparison with final 12 months’s $2 million pool.
Whereas Tencent is proud of the site visitors within the western markets, the viewers is lower than 10% of the whole viewers in Asia, mentioned James Yang, the worldwide head of PUBG Cell esports at Tencent, mentioned in an interview with GamesBeat.
However the Western markets are rising and changing into a higher share of the viewers. This 12 months, it’s extra like 15% of the viewers. A part of the hope is that different cellular video games will catch on as effectively and get extra gamers within the west enthusiastic about cellular esports.
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“We expect that cellular esports markets can be a lot greater within the west quickly,” he mentioned.
PUBG Cell Professional League North America Season 2
On this weekend’s competitions, 5 of the 20 groups will break up the $150,000 prize pool and transfer on to the PMPL Americas Championship, the place they’ll compete in opposition to groups from throughout Latin America for spots within the PUBG Cell International Championship (PMGC) 2021 and a share of the $6 million prize pool. Worldwide, the whole prize pool is $15 million, Yang mentioned.
Sponsored by OnePlus, the occasion options gamers combating it out within the battle royale sport on Android smartphones. The occasion is being carried on the official PUBG Cell Esports social channels on YouTube, Fb, Twitch.
PUBG Cell is licensed from Krafton, proprietor of the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds model and creator of the PC and console model of the sport. PUBG Cell was constructed by Tencent’s sport studio, LightSpeed & Quantum Studio. It debuted in 2017 and has been downloaded within the lots of of tens of millions. India barred the sport in a dispute with China, however Krafton has launched Battlegrounds Cell India has launched in that market.
Yang mentioned that the last word finals can have winners in each an Japanese League and a Western League, primarily as a result of restrictions imposed due to COVID-19. The sport is finest performed in entrance of an enormous viewers on a LAN community. However there aren’t any crowds at venues this 12 months, and gamers aren’t making the worldwide journeys to places to play in particular person now. So it is sensible to divide the teams into regional competitions the place web connectivity isn’t more likely to have an effect on the result.
“We concluded we couldn’t maintain a LAN occasion, and so we received’t put the groups all in the identical event,” Yang mentioned.
It’s not precisely clear if the last word finals within the months forward will happen in particular person, however the on-line occasions are continuing.
“This 12 months we ready a really spectacular occasion,” Yang mentioned.
Following 64 participant matches
Within the sport, as much as 100 gamers parachute onto a distant island to battle in a winner-takes-all showdown. Gamers should find and scavenge their very own weapons, autos, and provides, and defeat each participant in a visually and tactically wealthy battleground that forces gamers right into a shrinking play zone. With the esports model, 16 groups play with a complete of 64 gamers.
“We examined that rather a lot, and we discovered with too many gamers it’s too onerous to comply with,” Yang. “It’s enjoyable to play with quite a lot of gamers, however it isn’t straightforward to look at.”
The PUBG Cell gamers might theoretically play with sport controllers hooked up to telephones, however the event guidelines imply that gamers need to play with their fingers on touchscreens. Gamers even have to make use of smartphones and never tablets. That’s all within the title of holding the play honest.
Yang mentioned it was tough at the start to make the gameplay straightforward to look at for esports followers. Gamers arrange their very own cameras to comply with their favourite gamers. Occasions typically present footage from many alternative cameras to present followers an concept of the motion at any given second. Present administrators determined which screens to point out to the viewers. Announcers inform individuals what’s at stake for every staff as they progress or get eradicated.
“We make the storyline simpler to comply with with neighborhood posts to let the viewers comply with it simpler,” Yang mentioned.
Worldwide, there are greater than 300 professional groups with round 700 or 800 gamers. Every staff has 4 or 5 gamers.
Final 12 months, PUBG Cell was the most-watched cellular sport of the 12 months. Viewership rose 10 occasions from 2018 to 2019, and it grew as much as 5 occasions extra in viewership from 2019 to 2020, Yang mentioned. That progress has come as the sport grows in numerous areas. About 80% of the viewers watches on smartphones.
“We proceed to make this viewership greater as a result of increasingly is at stake,” Yang mentioned.
Gamers watch the esports occasions as a result of they need to learn to play higher. They usually have favourite groups and gamers, very similar to the audiences have favourite groups and gamers within the NBA. Gamers additionally need to see how their nationwide staff is competing in opposition to one other nation’s staff.
“Within the Western markets in Europe and North America, cellular esports is much less acquainted than it’s in Southeast Asia or Asia,” Yang mentioned. “Cell esports dominates within the Japanese markets. In some international locations in Asia, cellular penetration is even greater, with individuals having two or three telephones. The connection speeds are higher too.”
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