PUBG hasn't been fully released and it already puts up numbers like CS:GO, Dota 2
Esports Betting Report

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds On The Cusp Of Becoming Next Breakthrough Esport

PUBG betting
The online battle royale game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds has experienced what some consider to be an unimaginable success in its “Early Access” release.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, often abbreviated as PUBG, has displayed a staggering number of players, salesand viewers. Now being brought up in the same conversation as top esport titles, the promising new game shows little signs of slowing down.

The “last man standing” concept is brought to life as players work to scavenge a large map for weapons, ammo and anything else that’ll keep them alive. They do so while attempting to eliminate the rest of the competitors.

Battlegrounds rewards neither a defensive nor aggressive player, but rather, a savvy combination of both. Players must be incredibly intuitive and strategical to both survive and earn the winning title as last man alive.

Breathtaking statistics for PUBG

As of last week, the PC game surpassed ten million sales after only being released in March 2017. Battlegrounds has been consistently drawing viewers from its Steam rival, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. CS:GO is an A-list, first-person shooter game in terms of global players and viewership.

Battlegrounds and its developer, Bluehole, has hit a cluster of milestones since the game’s release. On the morning of Aug. 27, the game’s concurrent players exceeded that of Dota 2, a heavy-hitter in the esports space. Less than two weeks later on Sep. 8, Bluehole’s new megahit toppled that feat by hitting a concurrent player count of over one million.

These statistics are striking, but the game still lies in the shadows of Riot’s League of Legends, which at one point brandished over 7.5 million simultaneous players. In the same breath, Battlegrounds did dethrone League of Legends as the most watched game back in August on Twitch, a streak that hasn’t been broken in 34 months. Did we mention that the game hasn’t even been fully released yet?

TWITCH PUBG

A fresh and addicting game

Observing the game itself, it’s not difficult to see how Battlegrounds would eventually become as popular as it is today.

The concept of a last-man-standing game is easy to grasp for all types of players, especially when compared alongside intimidating games like Dota 2 or League of Legends. Anyone that’s new to Battlegrounds can watch a single match and practically understand the entirety of the game. In other words, you could say the game has a low barrier to entry in terms of spectating, relative to other PC games.

Battlegrounds can be dubious. With players and items scattered throughout various locations across the maps, winning the game is no easy feat.

Game creator Brandon Greene attributes this to Battlegrounds’ fresh and ever changing feel. He says it’s a “different story” every time you play. Greene furthered his point of randomization in an interview with Rolling Stone, comparing PUBG to a game of poker.

“Sometimes, you’re dealt an awful hand, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it to the final table.”

Whether you’re a professional gamer or someone who is playing their first-ever PC game, Battlegrounds is fun. As a tactical-shooter game, the tasteful amount of unpredictability and quirkiness just never seems to get old.

Still, Battlegrounds will challenge even the most elite players. The pleasant frustration seems to work in Bluehole’s favor as it keeps people coming back for more. No matter how you look at it, Battlegrounds is shaping up to becoming a serious competitive esport with a promising future.

On the cusp of becoming the next big esport

In August, Bluehole teamed up with ESL to host the Gamescon PUBG Invitational with a prize pool of $350,000. A pot of winnings this size is comparable to that of already well-established games like CS:GO and Dota, which is immensely impressive due to PUBG’s status as a new game.

The invitational was the first time testing out Battlegrounds in an authentic competitive setting. The event turned out to be a major blockbuster, reaping a wealth of positive and constructive feedback from the community as well as demoing some gameplay.

Still in its “Early Access” stages, Bluehole is paying close attention to community feedback, ensuring the game snowballs organically. Keeping that in mind, Greene still has his sights set on ultimately developing Battlegrounds into a new thriving and unique esport, per the Rolling Stone piece:

“I want to create spectacle in esports. I want 64 people sitting in the center of an arena with a stadium full of people watching. And then each player has to get up and walk off [as they’re eliminated].”

With Battlegrounds’ momentum growing quickly, the aspirations for the game as an esport seems likely. Battlegrounds is effectively and rapidly attracting the interest of bookmakers and fans alike.

Valuable asset for bookmakers

Esports betting platform GG.bet first offered bets on Battlegrounds in an effort that coincided with the first esport tournament at Gamescon on Aug. 23.

GG.bet is also offering odds on streamers playing online, even/odd kill counts. Betting on Battlegrounds a seemingly simple game to wager on. Affiliate partnership manager at GG.bet, Damir Dedic, spoke with Esports Betting Report about the title:

“Everyone at the office is addicted to the game, so naturally, we were looking for ways to get involved somehow,” he said. “With esports slowly picking up PUBG, we decided that it was the right timing to start accepting bets.”

Although GG.bet was unable to share the details and volume of its Gamescon Invitational interaction, Dedic detailed the advantages of being the first bookmaker to explore Battlegrounds.

“It’s a new and undiscovered market for bookmakers, so there are certain risks involved with that. But being on the forefront of potentially the next big esport is definitely worth the risk.”

GG.bet will still be accepting bets during Battlegrounds developmental stages, with the likelihood of becoming an even more bankable betting asset later on.

“If big event organizers and viewers will turn up, then PUBG can become a huge betting market,” Dedic predicted.

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Cody Luongo
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ESPN eSports analyst, Master’s of Science and exploring the intricacies of competitive gaming. A communication specialist driven by understanding esports as a business and helping drive it to the next level of viewership & engagement. Favorite hobbies include sniping in Halo 2 and playing paintball on Sundays.