Riot Games has better watch its back.
PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) has put global domination in its sights and aspires to be "bigger than League of Legends" with its own Global Championship.
With the League of Legends (LoL) Worlds just around the corner, PUBG could be hot on its heels. While both titles are completely different in terms of gameplay, PUBG director James Yang has grand plans for its own Global Championship tournament that will catapult the game to the top of the esports world.
While PUBG has been sometimes sidelined in favour of the more colourful Fortnite, it's important to remember it still has a huge following in Asia. Similar to how League of Legends dominates the Asian market, PUBG wants to cash in on its biggest fanbase. Since its release in 2018, PUBG Mobile has been downloaded over 600 million times and has 50 million daily active players.
As well as the huge reveal of Version 1.0, we've learned the PUBG Mobile World League (PMWL) and World Championship have been combined into a supersized event. This is the biggest event PUBG Corp has ever held and will be known as the PUBG Mobile Global Championship (PMGC). Things will get underway with Season Zero and plans for pro teams from the Americas, Europe, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Middle East, and China to duke it out.
Speaking during an online press conference, Yang explained, "We want to be a Tier 1 esport. We want to be the world’s number one mobile esport, and maybe we already are. But the main goal is to be a Tier 1, main pipeline esport. League of Legends, Dota 2, we want to be as big as them. Maybe we can be bigger than them!”. The PUBG World Championship is due to kick off in November with a massive $2 million prize pool.
Still, Yang understands the road to overtaking LoL is a long one. The director admitted, "Our mobile esports ecosystem is not really built yet. We know it will take time, especially for the European region. Audiences there are willing to watch PC games, but they’re still getting used to mobile".
There will be 20 teams, made up of some of the 40 teams that currently compete across the Eastern and Western Divisions of the World League. PMGC has found a main sponsor in Qualcomm, which is about as big as they come.
Due to COVID-19, the way the Global Championship will be played is currently up in the air. Although there are plans to have the rounds played live in different studios - with fans on-site - it's unclear whether this will be possible and guidelines will be relaxed. Either way, it's huge news for PUBG.
Images via PUBG Corp