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North America gets its first professional PUBG league

Ever since PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was launched in March 2017, it quickly gained a great reputation for being one of the world’s top battle royale titles. But the game’s bid to be one of the biggest esports took a step further this week when it was announced that a large South Korean entertainment brand would be partnering with PUBG’s publishers to launch the first professional PUBG competitive league in North America.

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Image Credits: PUBG Corporation

OGN have grown to become one of the largest esports networks in Asia, and their decision to pour in over $100 million in investment in the North American esports scene shows just how quickly things are heating up in this rapidly growing domain. OGN will be forming an exclusive partnership with PUBG Corp – PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ publisher – to launch the new league in early 2019 and it will be the first time that this battle royale title will have had an official tournament in the continent.

What can we expect from the North America PUBG league?

The National PUBG League will kick off in January 2019. The tournament will include 16 different teams from all over North America who will put forward four-player squads to battle on the Miramar and Erangel maps. The competition has already got off to a strong start by announcing that there will be a $1 million prize pool, and it will be interesting to see which esports organisations will be signing up for the tournament.

Although details around the National PUBG League are still fairly scarce, we understand that the battle royale matches will take place at a brand new esports arena that OGN is building in Manhattan Beach in Los Angeles, California. The arena will be the largest esports venue on the West Coast of the USA, and it will have a specialised stage that is custom built for up to 100 PUBG players, as well as space for 500 esports fans.

In addition to this, OGN have made it clear that they have big plans for live streaming these National PUBG League matches. As the exclusive partner for the tournament, it will stream the matches via its Twitch channel. All of which means that esports fans from all over the world can gain direct access to one of the most promising esports tournaments of 2019.

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Could PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds become a world-beater?

Whilst PUBG is one of the world’s most viewed games on Twitch and YouTube Gaming, it has yet to match the success found by titles like League of Legends, Counter Strike Global Offensive and Dota 2 in the esports domain. Some critics have even stated that the basic gameplay of PUBG doesn’t really lend itself to being a spectator sport with reports that audiences can become quickly bored in watching competitors running around looking for extra weapons and armour.

Despite these criticisms, it seems that PUBG has already made impressive inroads into the competitive gaming realm in less than a year. The PUBG Global Invitational took place in Berlin earlier in July 2018, and it was the game’s first official tournament. This featured 20 top esports teams like Team Liquid, Natus Vincere and Team Gates competing for the $2 million prize pool. Although Oh My God and Gen. G Gold managed to walk away champions, it proved that PUBG has the potential to become one of the most popular esports around.

As a result, it’s been interesting to see how PUBG Corp have implemented an ambitious five year plan to create a long-lasting global esports infrastructure around the title. But with other recently released battle royale titles like Fortnite enjoying a huge amount of popularity, it’s clear that the time is now for PUBG’s creators to ensure that their game doesn’t miss out on a potentially very lucrative market.

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How OGN became one of the biggest esports brands

Many gaming fans will already know how the OGN brand through their streaming of vintage esports hits like StarCraft, as well as their coverage of the League of Legends Champions Korea league. Whilst OGN has become a key player in the Asian esports realm, this move to partner with PUBG marks a significant shift in the brand’s strategy to becoming a truly global brand.

OGN already help to produce well over 500 esports leagues in over 150 nations, and the brand has been creating thousands of hours of esports content each year. Whilst Korea has long been seen as the hotbed of esports activity, OGN’s decision to target North America makes perfect sense as several of the most successful games developers and publishers are based here. With Blizzard Entertainment already making Los Angeles the home of their Overwatch League matches, it looks likes the Californian city could soon be the epicentre of the PUBG world too.

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