Korean esports operator OGN is set to construct a 100-player studio fit to host Bluehole’s smash-hit battle-royale game PLAYERUNKNOWN’s Battlegrounds. The game, which recently reached 20 million sales worldwide is still in early access yet the esports scene is already starting to take shape and this is another significant boost.
Reports from the likes of Korean news site Naver outline OGN’s plan to create a studio fit to run a PUBG league live. The game has a number of questions still to answer when it comes to being “esports ready”, with in-game glitches, bugs and a plethora of cheaters still prevalent in the title. With the game still in early access, though, this is perhaps forgiveable.
Others have expressed concerns around the spectator viewing experience understandably. A 100 person game is never going to be easy for broadcasters to show, but with IEM Oakland set to welcome more staff working on the spectator, the potential for a gripping broadcast is definitely there. IEM Oakland gets underway in a week’s time which will show some of the best in the world battle it out on the big stage. Whilst there’s small leagues and tournaments running such as Auzom at the moment, IEM provides the second glimpse at PUBG’s true esports potential.
The first was Gamescom’s PUBG Invitational held in Cologne. There were, of course, several teething issues but overall the viewership was there and importantly there’s most definitely an appetite for an esports scene. As mentioned time and time again, the best esports titles are generally built from the ground upwards whereby players of the game are keen to compete and play at a higher level. This was certainly the case with Bluehole, yet there remains a lot of work to be done.
OGN is well known for its work in a range of esports. It’s been heavily involved in every esport that Korea has embraced. Notably League of Legends, Starcraft II and Overwatch. OGN’s APEX was one of the only competitions to run in the recent hiatus from professional competition with the OWL looming large. The popularity is definitely there, with figures suggesting that the game is now played more in Korean PC bangs than Overwatch and should a viewer hop onto Twitch at any point, there’s a lot of Korean streamers bringing in big numbers.
Esports Insider says: Big move from OGN and great to see for PUBG. We’ve been sceptical of the game’s potential in the past but this is a move that should see the esports scene continue to gain traction. We’ll tell you one thing though, the world better be ready. When Korea truly embraces an esport and it’s played enough, they become the undisputed best in the world. We’re already licking our lips at the prospect of the best in the West heading out to Korea so let’s see how this pans out.