Cologne's gamescom is the highlight of the year for gamers and e-sports fans alike. This year, Europe's largest gaming convention launched a special new event: In co-operation with paysafecard and the ESL, the first ever official e-sports tournament of the highly anticipated game Playerunknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) was held. PUBG continues to climb to the top of the Steam charts unabated, and currently has more active players than CS:GO – in the next few days, it could even kick DOTA2 to the curb and take over Steam's coveted first-place ranking.
PUBG: the newest game in e-sports
PUBG also has the best prospects for e-sports. Even though the game is still currently in its 'Early Access' phase,the first official e-sports tournament – the gamescom PUBG Invitational – was organised. The organisation of the event was taken on by developer Bluehole in co-operation with the ESL. Out of the 100 starting places in this battle royale, 20 were assigned directly to the gamescom event via a community qualifier. The remaining 80 participants were invited to the tournament, some of whom represented large e-sports organisations such as TSM, Cloud9, and Team Liquid. The prize money was also impressive: a PUBG Invitational prize pool of USD 350,000.
The tournament as a whole was divided into various disciplines and game modes. Both the traditional third-person perspective (TPP), as well as the relatively new first-person perspective (FPP) were used. Here is a precise breakdown of each tournament phase, including the respective prize pool and winner:
- Solo TPP: 46.000 USD | Winner: Team 4entro – EVERMORE
- Duo TPP: 62.000 USD | Winner: Suisse my Baguette – Yukiiie & THZ
- Duo FPP: 62.000 USD | Winner: Cloud9 – SolidFPS & Chappie
- Squad TPP: 180.000 USD | Winner: Luminosity Gaming – Chipzy, DrasseL, Ninja & JP2
The winners not only took home the prize money, but also received a trophy in the form of a golden frying pan. The ESL published a short event recap, in which you can read up on the top 3 placements across all game modes.
The gamescom PUBG Invitational was live streamed across all days, and could therefore be followed by those watching at home. Three matches were played for each game mode. After controversially holding out in a rock crevice, player EVERMORE took victory in the second round of Solo TPP and secured the golden frying pan. The team modes were characterised by co-operation and communication. The teams distributed themselves well across the island, and first gathered equipment before engaging in battle. In general, the focus was largely centred on a cautious playing style. Many players tried to avoid direct battles so as to survive as long as possible. In one game there was an outright pool party, as numerous players simultaneously sought protection in the sea.
The early showdowns, commonly seen in regular games, were almost non-existent at the PUBG Invitational – the equipment was collected first! Many hilarious and unexpected acts provided extra entertainment value during these exciting matches. For example, JaredFPS made a catastrophic mistake while on his motorbike, and TSM_SmaK landed an impressive bullseye with his Kar98k, which in turn allowed him to rescue a teammate. All VODs from the game can be watched here. Plenty of important experience was gained at the first official PUBG e-sports event, which will prove decisive for the e-sports future of this battle royale game. All in all, the gamescom PUBG Invitational was declared a success, and will also pave the way for Playerunknown's Battlegrounds' continued competitive future.