From PGI.S to the PCS series, to the Global PUBG Championship, 2021 has been a big year for PUBG esports. For all this to happen, the game needed people with a strict focus on the scene, working hard to make the scene more enjoyable for the players and the fans.
One of these people is KRAFTON’s director for esports for the Americas region, Everett Coleman, who oversees the PUBG: Battlegrounds esports program in North and Latin America. He joined Inven Global for an interview.
There have been a lot of PUBG esports tournaments in the past years. Among those, this year's PGI.S was one of the biggest. How did it all come together?
PUBG Esports really comes to life at global offline events. Unfortunately, with COVID, we had to pivot to a largely online-focused program as we were unable to host offline events for quite some time. As soon as hosting an offline event became possible again, we were very excited to produce a global invitational event. A proper global championship was not yet possible given COVID-related restrictions, but we still wanted to create a massive and exciting event for our fans in the meantime. We took every possible COVID-related precaution into account to put on this event and were really happy to see just how much the global PUBG Esports audience enjoyed it.
It must have been really difficult with the pandemic. How did it happen?
The COVID-19 pandemic is obviously a very difficult time for everyone, but for us, we had to quickly adapt to hosting tournaments not just online instead of in-person but away from our broadcast studios and remotely, which is incredibly challenging. On top of that, we planned an entirely new program — the PUBG Continental series — to ensure that our fans and players did not get left behind by the circumstances. It was a lot of hard work, innovation, and ingenuity by the PUBG team and I’m glad we managed to pull it off and have a great experience for everyone involved.
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At the PGI.S, there was a brand new “chicken rule”, emphasizing the importance of survival. What made PUBG make the chicken rule?
The new rulesets that focus more heavily on the “chicken dinner” are a homecoming to the essence of battle royale. The ruleset offers a way to help bridge the live gameplay and esports experiences to make esports modes more familiar to the wider playerbase. We’re always looking for new ways to innovate and refine the PUBG Esports ruleset and ecosystem, and we’ve always been pioneers in the battle royale space. We’re excited to keep learning, experimenting, and seeing what the future holds for PUBG Esports.
Since then, the chicken rule has become the only rule. Was this planned before PGI.S?
PGI.S was an important event to evaluate the impact that a scoring system that focuses on chicken dinners would have. The implementation of the chicken dinner scoring system now is actually a little different than what was shown at PGI.S. PGI.S used chicken dinners as a way to advance teams in the tournament rather than serve as an actual scoring system on a leaderboard. The current Most Chicken rule actually ranks teams based on the number of chicken dinners they have won. These scoring systems are always undergoing deep evaluation and analysis, and we are looking forward to continuing to evolve them.
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There are many players that have been complaining about this rule, that it’s based too much on luck. Why is PUBG sticking to this rule despite all the complaints?
Player feedback is something that we value highly here at PUBG. We are very appreciative of all the feedback we’ve received from our passionate community, and that goes for everything that we do here, not just esports rules. Rest assured, we’re never completely satisfied or resting on our laurels — evolution is a natural part of things here.
How is PCS Americas going? How’s the viewership?
We’re very proud of what we and the community have achieved with PCS4. The event saw us return to studio broadcasts in our new PUBG Santa Monica studio, and is a testament to the dedicated hard work that the entire production crew, observer team, and talent have put together. Of course, this would not be considered a success without the fans, and we’d like to thank them for supporting our efforts and the players and the teams. I know this means a lot to them.
It seems that you’re not back at the Arena yet. I know that the US is much more vaccinated than other countries. When do you think players will be able to return to the arena?
While we aren’t sure when we’re going to return to offline events in the Americas region yet, at PUBG esports we’ll make sure that whatever decision we make will follow health guidelines and will be what’s best for the players and fans. Until health guidelines dictate that we can all come together safely in person, we’ll continue to make online events the best they can be. I think with PCS4 we’ve proven that there’s a place for great online events in PUBG esports.
PGI.S champion Soniqs are doing great. Is it positive to have a “star team” like them in the PUBG esports scene?
It’s been very exciting to see the emergence of the Soniqs, not just as a force in the Americas region, but also as a highly skilled team on the global stage. It’s definitely positive to have a group of such strong competitors in the scene, and the pressure is certainly on the rest of the competition to put up a fight.
How do you think the future competitions will go?
Teams are only getting better and more experienced with time. As we get closer to the PUBG Global Championships, teams will be practicing even harder and the very best teams will set themselves apart. We’ve had a great mix of surprises along with the top teams that everyone expects to perform well, and we can’t wait to see which teams will emerge from each region heading into PGC.
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The big and small tournaments lead to the global championship to conclude the PUBG esports year. What can you tell me about the Global Championship? (Location, number of teams, dates, etc.)
We are just as anxious as our fans when it comes to sharing more information about the PUBG Global Championship. Much like PGI.S, we are doing extreme diligence to ensure that the event can be hosted in the safest way possible. Once more details are finalized, we will begin revealing that information.
Lastly, a word to the fans who love PUBG esports?
Thank you. Seeing all the support from the community during every single event is always a humbling experience for all of us, and it’s amazing to see what we’ve all built together. We hope to continue to produce something that keeps everyone excited and engaged for years to come.
All images via: KRAFTON