The global gaming community has gone mad for online multiplayer games recently, with PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) one of the most popular titles of this type.
Released in March 2017 by the PUBG Corporation, the game was made available through Steam’s early access beta program and made a staggering $11 million in the first three days of its Windows launch. During April, sales exceeded $34 million, surpassing the revenues from competing titles like Overwatch and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
The game has also boomed as an eSport, despite the recent news that this year’s hotly anticipated PUBG Europe League (PEL) has been delayed until March due to financial and venue issues. So, exactly how does PUBG stack up as an eSport and why is it so popular across the globe?
About the Game
PUBG is essentially a player versus player shooter game, in which up to 100 players fight to the death in a helter-skelter battle royale.
In terms of format, players can compete solo, duo or with a small team of up to four people, with the last person or grouping left alive declared as the winner of the match.
As with a number of popular shooter games and burgeoning eSports, each match starts with players parachuting from a plane onto one of four maps.
The rules stipulate that players should start the match with no gear other than the customised clothing choices that do not affect gameplay, as they instead search surrounding buildings and ghost towns for weapons and other equipment.
Of course, the best equipment and munitions lie in the highest risk areas, although characters can also be looted once they’ve been killed.
According to lead designer Brendan Greene, PUBG represents the “final version” of the battle royale concept, which is a key component of various popular eSports. This is due to the comprehensive nature of the game, and the fact that it includes several elements that had been included in previous iterations of the game.
What’s the Format of PUBG as an ESport?
There’s certainly a busy calendar of competitive PUBG action scheduled for 2019, with the first phase of this year’s PEL initially scheduled to start on February 15th.
At present, players are also competing in the first phases of the 2019 National PUBG League (NPL) and the National PUBG League Contenders championship. These are essentially qualification periods for major eSports tournaments, while they’re scheduled to be completed on March 5th and March 9th respectively.
The distinction between the 2019 NPL and the Contenders League is an interesting one, as it represents a brand new structure for players to get to grips with.
In short, the top NPL tier will feature the league’s best 16 teams, while the Contenders tournament will see a further 16 sides compete for a place in next seasons’ NPL. At the end of each phase, the NPL’s bottom six teams will have to fight for survival against the top 10 sides on the Contender’s League, with the winners able to book their place in next years’ top-flight.
In terms of the typical match format, we’ll see teams of four players compete over the course of four rounds (one for each of the game’s individual maps). There’s also a single point awarded for every single kill, with players being ranked and awarded points according to how many of their opponents they slaughter.
The team whose players accumulate the most points will ultimately prevail, and take another step towards to winning the tournament in which they’re participating.
On a final note, it’s important to note that the professional PUBG season consists of three phases prior to the Global Championship. These phases last for eight weeks each in total, and typically features matches from both the NPL and the NPL Contenders.
PUBG Betting and Wagering Requirements
Like its rival Overwatch, PUBG is a relatively new addition to the competitive eSports marketplace, but it has so far failed to gain the traction of Blizzard Entertainment’s flagship game among the betting community.
In fact, it has only been part of one official tournament that allowed betting to date, during Gamescom in 2017. While this is set to change in 2019 and further into the future, it’s fair to say that there will only be a limited range of PUBG markets available for people to bet during the NPL and Contenders leagues.
The most popular PUBG betting market is the one for outright winners, which debuted during the PUBG 2017 Invitation at Gamescom. In this market, competing times are priced according to the experience and track record of success, with the odds reflecting their predetermined chances of winning.
This will also see the addition of a new market, which will revolve around the team that scores the most kills. This betting sector will relate to both individual matchups and overall tournaments, with the most accomplished sides once again likely to be afforded the shortest odds.
This market should also create an opportunity for punters to embrace handicap betting, as this will improve the odds on offer and help you to create a far greater value proposition.
In terms of a defined betting strategy, you should definitely appraise the quality and past history of individual teams, while using this to inform your selections and individual wagers.
There are several ways in which you can achieve this, including researching previous PUBG tournaments and regularly following associated streams on Twitch.
If you’re really committed, you could consider playing the game yourself, as this will offer an insight into its nature and unique patterns of play.