PUBG hasn’t had it easy lately
The explosive surge in popularity that kick-started the phenomenon that was PUBG has slowed down considerably since its early days. As a matter of fact, these days it seems more like PUBG is struggling a little – not only did attempts at tournaments last year not always play out as expected, but the game is fighting a seemingly ever-increasing number of cheaters and bans.
Not just casual players either – even pros have been banned. No less than 12 were banned from competitive play either because they themselves cheated or because they were aware of teammates cheating. That’s not a great cut in the pro circuit. Last year, over 30.000 players were banned, including another 4 pros – while cheating in competitive gaming is hardly new, the numbers are still staggering.
One European squad, Sans Domicile, lost no less than four players to these issues and, as a result, lost its spot in the Contenders League. Worse yet – especially for those involved who DIDN’T know/cheat, the only way the team can come back… is with an entirely new roster of players.
Unsurprisingly, that alone hasn’t been great for the PUBG pro circuit, but the fact that more and more esports organisations are dropping their PUBG teams is even worse. Entire rosters of players are being released and while, individually, there may well be good reasons for this, such as financial troubles or personal differences, the fact that it happens so much paints a different picture.
Optic Gaming even cited doubts about whether or not PUBG has a future as a serious esport… and both them and Evil Geniuses have already dropped their PUBG teams. G2 esports dismissed their team in December – only one of their players found a roster to join again.
All in all, it seems pretty bleak, despite the continued investments PUBG Corp makes to keep alive the competitive side of their break-out success title.
To be fair, it’s not entirely bad news – in some places, the game is still going strong. In India, for example, the 2019 PUBG Mobile series is absolutely happening later this year. The registration period for it will run until January 23rd, the qualifiers will play out between January 21st and 28th.
The online playoffs will take place over most of February, and the Grand Finale featuring the best 20 qualifying teams will take place on March 10th. In more cases than not, a mobile version of a game tends to not catch on so well – however, with the rising popularity of serious mobile gaming, especially in Asian regions, this isn’t always true, as this very PUBG Mobile India series demonstrates.
Whether it’s enough to let PUBG recover from its recent issues remains to be seen, but supporters and fans remain hopeful – not to mention, even if the game collapses as an esport, that doesn’t make actually playing it any less fun, meaning that whatever happens, if you enjoy playing it, you should keep at it. Just… maybe don’t get too attached to any pro teams just yet.