The departure of Cloud 9 from the National PUBG League stunned fans and fellow competitors throughout PUBG Esports. Now, the conversation shifts towards what PUBG Corp. could do better to support the pro league.
Cloud 9, one of North America’s most prominent esports organizations, has decided to suspend their PUBG operations. As one of PUBG Esports’ most dominant teams, it came as a surprise to the entire PUBG community that the team would withdraw prior to the most critical phase of the pro league’s inaugural season. The reaction from fans and players across the competitive scene followed a common theme, PUBG Corp. needs to do more for their esport.
Introducing additional methods of income is one of the most beneficial things PUBG Esports could do to improve the appeal of the pro league immediately. The most popular example of revenue sharing is offering in-game content to fans, via weapon skins and cosmetics.
This would provide the players and organizations that invest in the game with alternative revenue, while simultaneously confronting a common gripe throughout the player base, who feel the store needs more creative and exciting skins.
The in-game store has seen a handful of esport items. Previously, jackets representing each of the pro league regions were offered. Now a PUBG Nations Cup frying pan skin is available. While it’s great to see some effort being made to highlight the esport, so much more could be done.
Redshirts Always Die
For instance, rather than designing one item for an entire region, or an item for a specific event, PUBG could create a skin that truly motivates their esports fan to purchase it. Pricing of these items is another conversation altogether; for now, I’ll stick to the content itself.
Looking at traditional sports merchandising as an example, fans are more motivated to purchase items that represent their favorite team or player, rather than league-branded apparel. For instance, as a die-hard Chicago Blackhawks fan, I am always checking out new items on fan websites. Although the Blackhawks belong to the National Hockey League, I am unlikely to spend money on an NHL t-shirt. Ultimately, fans are there for the players and teams, not the league itself.
Leading up to the first-ever PUBG Global Invitational, team-branded hoodies were sold within the PUBG store and even a year later are still seen throughout the game. I’d speculate that this was the most successful esports item sold, based on the amount of promotion there was heading into PGI. Items similar to this would sell even better within the structure of the pro league because teams are locked into long format phases.
Off the top of my head, a variety of team-focused items could be sold in-game. Jerseys? Weapon Skins? CHARMS?! – Imagine having a charm for your favorite esports team, wouldn’t that be appealing to snag and attach to your weapon of choice?
While teams naturally come and go, there needs to be an alternative source of revenue for organizations who may not win every tournament. And why stop there? What if the player leading in kills after an entire phase had an item featured in-game? Another massive incentive for the players week in and week out.
Rather than remaining laser-focused on a variety of Twitch streamers (which is excellent and should still exist in conjunction with esports items), invest into the players and organizations that have supported the game since the beginning. Unique in-game content shouldn’t rest on the shoulders of streamers; there are plenty of Shroud items, turn the attention towards your esports scene and let’s focus on the longevity of the pro league.