Is this a sign of the future of PUBG Esports?

15:00, 28 Dec 2019

Tempo Storm has parted ways with its PUBG roster. It is the latest in a slew of such announcements, which sees the game enter the new year without some of esports' biggest names.

Tempo Storm originally signed its players, then competing as Pure RNG, two years ago. In that time, they would come to dominate the North American scene. During 2019's National PUBG League (NPL) the team would finish both the preseason and all three phases of the main tournament in first place. It would also qualify for the final stages of the PUBG Global Championship, where it finished 14th.

In a response, Tempo CEO Andrey "Reynad" Yanyuk expressed his disappointment at having to let the team go. From his reaction, he considers the blame for this to lie with PUBG Corp.

PUBG esports’ growing pains

Since first unveiling its professional circuit last year, PUBG’s developer has not had an easy time of it. Almost immediately after its announcement, OpTic Gaming decided to cease its PUBG activities, citing a lack of belief in the proposed plans. Throughout the year other teams drew similar conclusions, often complaining about the company’s communication in the process.

Viewership has been a problem as well. While still decently popular in Asia and Europe, North America's NPL especially has struggled with this. To give you an idea, according to Esports Charts the PUBG Europe League (PEL)'s last phase had an average-minutes-audience of 15,470. For the NPL this number was 5,038 over the same period.

Lastly, there was the promise of team-branded skins. Teams were hoping to use these to offset the lack of exposure and increase revenues. When they too failed to materialize, several more competitors sailed off into the sunset.

Sweeping changes needed?

PUBG Corp. had undoubtedly hoped to right the ship when it revealed its 2020 PUBG Global Series earlier in the month. While this announcement included format improvements, other issues remained unaddressed. As a result, Team Reciprocity informed fans of its departure from the game last week, with Tempo Storm now following suit.

PUBG Corp. has also lost its director of esports, Jake Sin. In his goodbye message he states: "I'm incredibly proud of what my small team was able to accomplish in just one year of existence. Of course there are many things I wished were done better, but they would have required committing company-wide resources well beyond my reach."

This message only reinforces the idea that a bigger commitment from PUBG’s developer is required, if it wants to remain relevant opposite competitors like Fortnite and Apex Legends (Tempo Storm also operates a Fortnite squad). We’ll likely have to wait until next year to find out whether the company will choose to do so, however.

Main image via PUBG Corp

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