Inspired by the movie Battle Royale, Playerunknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) has aimed to emulate the same feel of the hunt or be hunted, enabling for a true survival experience. It’s a great game, but does it have what it takes to be an excellent esport?
Sure, PUBG is rapidly growing, but for how long? Every other esport has its growth spurt, and then they stabilize at some point or even decay as another new game contending for a spot in the esports scene pops out. Also, it depends on the gameplay meta and how it evolves.
Right now, the meta is either Hide or Hunt. You can either opt to hide from your enemies, let them kill each other and then kill the last one standing since they’re weak and weary, or you can go on a killing spree before they get to think about doing anything. It’s a battle of wits, intelligence, and gunplay skill, which gives a different experience with every match. It’s thrilling, exciting, and it keeps you at the edge of your seat as a player.
As a viewer, on the other hand, it might be a hard pill to swallow. The first PUBG solo champion, Evermore, who was part of Team KongdooPanthera in professional Overwatch, was able to win by simply hiding out in the blue areas, far away from other people, and fighting only in the last minute. You can imagine, or if you were watching it yourself, it was disappointing for viewers. Yes, that sort of gameplay certainly isn’t something esports enthusiasts, especially those not into PUBG, would spend their time watching.
While standing in and abusing standing in blue has been amended in other competitions past Gamescom, the hiding meta has certainly become the best meta. In other words, what has happened with Evermore will see a repeat in the foreseeable future, regardless if they can stand in blue or not. It’s all about the stealth now.
PUBG needs to create a new rule set to make the game more exciting for viewership rather than just for players alone. Early to mid game can be quite boring in PUBG, with brief spurts of excitement when two players face each other. Also, it only ramps up in quality viewing when it’s down to the last two people teams. Certainly, it’s not as exciting compared to how each second is in shooters like CS:GO, lots of brief and tense moments in fighting games like Street Fighter, or the oh-my-god factor in mobas, such as Dota 2.
If PUBG wants to have a life past 2018, it has to create a rule set appealing to both players and viewers like content to dole out PUBG Skins and other PUBG Items. However, why would developers have profits with only sales when they can have both profits and esports fame?