With League of Legends Worlds, Riot Games proved that – given enough resources – a safe and spectacular offline esports event can be hosted amid a global pandemic. Now PUBG Corp. is aiming to pull off something similarly ambitious with this year’s Global Invitational.
32 teams from eight regions will all be flown out to the South Korean capital of Seoul for an eight-week event with a $3.5 million prize pool; and all the action will be played on LAN. Running from February 1, 2021, up until the final week of March, there’s a whole lot of PUBG to be played. But as was evident from the strict quarantining and bubble system imposed on LoL pros in Shanghai for Worlds, keeping everyone safe is a military operation.
However, PUBG’s esports project manager Michael Sung is confident that all the effort will be worth it for fans of competitive PUBG.
“PUBG has successfully held four PCS events throughout the year despite the spread of COVID-19,” Sung tells The Loadout. “For the fans who enjoyed PCS and have been waiting for more esports tournaments we decided to deliver a global festival of esports. Global in-person esports events have always been our goal (in 2020), but we’ve finally come up with a way we feel comfortable with, by safely providing a competitive environment while giving something for our pro teams and fans to enjoy.”
With four North American teams and seven European teams being invited to the Global Invitational, there’s a lot of cross-continental travel on the cards to get everyone safely over to Seoul. Sung says the travel restrictions and visa requirements of over 20 countries have had to be studied in total to make sure all competitors will be able to travel.
However, the on-site safety measures when the players reach Korea are also very extensive.
“We will have players wear a temperature patch to monitor their temperature 24/7 and have our medical personnel on site to assist in case any of them have a fever,” Sung reveals. “We will also install disinfection doors and other measures at the venue, and strictly limit access to the site to allow only pre-registered personnel to enter. With regards to accommodation, staff and players will stay somewhere that is completely off-limits to the general public.”
— PUBG (@PUBG) November 20, 2020
Sung says that each individual player will be put up in their own room in “five-star” accommodation near to the venue, which is yet to be announced.
While there is a lot of effort going into putting on a massive, well-represented tournament, there is sadly no scope for a live audience.
“Due to the current situation that requires physical distancing, the tournament will take place and be broadcasted online, so we will not have an audience on site,” confirms Sung.
While the teams are yet to be confirmed, expect the cream of the crop in competitive PUBG to be putting on a show for eight whole weeks and get the first chance in a long while to clash face-to-face.