For a lot of esports, from Name of Responsibility to Tremendous Smash Bros., 2020 was speculated to be a landmark 12 months to launch a brand new construction and transfer the ecosystem ahead. Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic compelled many of those esports to pivot away from a lot of their preliminary 2020 plans and compelled organizers to develop a brand new on-line construction on the fly.
PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS was no exception to this problem. After experimenting with a regional league format in 2019, and seeing a number of high-profile esports organizations depart the scene on the finish of the 12 months, PUBG Esports got here into 2020 with a plan to concentrate on what the followers wished to see – large worldwide competitions. In fact, these large-scale LANs have been the very first thing to go throughout the pandemic, and consequently, PUBG needed to pivot.
The Esports Observer spoke with PUBG Esports Undertaking Supervisor Michael Sung about making the shift to on-line, and the group’s continued efforts to iterate on the sport’s esports ecosystem, relationship with groups, and viewing expertise for followers.
What have been the first challenges in transitioning your 2020 esports plan from offline occasions to a web based format?
In some ways, it was the identical problem that a whole lot of our rivals confronted. Firstly of 2020, PUBG Esports introduced our unique plans for a renewed esports mannequin within the type of the PUBG International Collection. Resulting from Covid-19 although, we needed to pivot these plans and create a brand new on-line regional match construction within the type of the PUBG Continental Collection.
Due to the adjustments, we needed to provide you with a broadcast system and ruleset that have been optimized for a web based match in a really quick time frame. Along with all of this, we additionally wished to make sure that the up to date construction was an evolution of final 12 months. So, we requested every native workplace to develop an optimized mannequin that suited their area. We felt it was essential that every area was empowered to run a format that was optimized for his or her viewers, but additionally related sufficient to fold it into the PCS model.
In Europe, we established a regional qualifying construction for PCS. In North America’s case, we moved from the closed league mannequin that was confined to professional gamers and expanded participation alternatives for newbie gamers. You’ll discover that every of the areas are doing one thing barely completely different, however every PCS match is constructed below the identical idea.
PUBG esports has gone by means of a number of iterations lately. What classes have you ever discovered that led to the unique 2020 esports plan?
In 2018, PUBG Company held PGI and PAI, each of which have been arrange in an invitational format. There was a robust urge for food for esports and as we progressed, we noticed the necessity for a bigger esports ecosystem and format.
As we transitioned into regional leagues in 2019, we have been capable of determine new groups and gamers. In a whole lot of methods, that was additionally our “12 months zero” the place we have been capable of set up a whole lot of the muse you see at the moment, an optimized battle royale ruleset and broadcast system.
All through 2019, we started to note that the highlights have been our world tournaments, which have been highly regarded with followers. After we have been desirous about plans for this 12 months and the way we wished to evolve the system, the continuation of enormous world occasions was essential to us. The unique PGS plans have clearly modified to PCS resulting from Covid-19, however a whole lot of the targets and DNA of this system stay the identical. We’ll proceed to carry PUBG esports to a world viewers.
Credit score: Redbull
We noticed a number of esports groups resembling Tempo Storm depart the PUBG ecosystem on the finish of final 12 months. What has been finished throughout 2020 to enhance the connection between the esports division and professional groups?
We’re at all times working laborious to construct a sustainable ecosystem and assist the groups that depend on us. Along with the continued conversations we now have with our present groups, we’re continually in search of methods to assist them formally. As a part of that effort, we made some essential adjustments to the Choose’Em Problem so all groups are capable of profit from it (income is now cut up between prize pool additions and being shared with all groups), versus final 12 months, the place some felt prefer it was a reputation contest. The way in which the up to date Choose’Em Problem system works additionally permits extra publicity and highlight for all groups.
We additionally modified the real-time replay operate and API to assist accumulate pro-players’ stat knowledge faster. This knowledge is proven inside the esports tab to permit followers higher entry in the direction of the gamers and groups.
In the end, it’s essential we strengthen the PUBG esports model and set up a sustainable ecosystem for the professional gamers by means of monetary means and publicity. This can’t be finished in a single day, however we’ll proceed to make incremental enhancements.
Credit score: Redbull
One of many greatest challenges with battle royale esports has at all times been spectating with so many gamers concerned in a match. How has PUBG’s spectating technique advanced over time and the way did the shift on-line have an effect on the viewer expertise?
We’ve come a great distance with spectating since our first main esports occasion. Spectating enhancements are one thing that we’ll at all times be tinkering with. As talked about, with so many gamers competing on the identical time, it may be difficult to ship an thrilling narrative to our viewers.
Like most issues, our technique has advanced. At present, we’re as much as roughly 40 observers throughout a global match. So we’re fairly assured that if one thing thrilling goes to occur, we’ll be there to seize it. The big variety of observers can be as a result of we produce feeds with varied views together with the principle feed, area feeds, and group and nation feeds. This implies viewers can select a feed the place their favourite group or area receives probably the most focus. For instance, throughout the PUBG Nations Cup final 12 months we produced all 16 groups’ feeds individually. Viewers may watch the matches specializing in the group they like, and it was straightforward to look at different areas’ groups.
Our technique will proceed to evolve. We’ve even made investments in broadcast know-how, which embody frequent publicity of the scoreboard by making use of real-time API, re-broadcasting main moments throughout matches, and broadcasting gamers’ communication throughout matches.
Relating to the online-only tournaments, it’s primarily been an inside problem in the identical means that working remotely is – we now have to reimagine the way in which we do issues. In the end, the objective is to make sure that it doesn’t have an effect on the viewing expertise one bit and followers can proceed having an thrilling viewing expertise.
A number of esports have begun to experiment with integrating sponsors into the sport throughout esports broadcasts. What’s PUBG’s technique for activating manufacturers throughout broadcasts, and will we see in-game integration sooner or later?
I do agree that integrating sponsors and varied manufacturers into esports is an efficient strategy for each the esports organizers and companions. Whereas we don’t have something to announce but, we’re actively exploring choices for future tournaments, guaranteeing that it is smart for each PUBG esports and the sponsors.