Chinese team wins PUBG Global Invitational (and earns congratulations from state media)
The Chinese government seems to be warming to esports
Chinese PUBG team OMG seized the gold frying pan trophy of the first ever PlayerUnknown’s Battleground Global Invitation in Berlin on Sunday, ending China’s 13-year title drought in first person shooting games.
PUBG enjoys immense popularity in China, and this esports milestone was heavily celebrated in the country. Following the victory, even state media like the People’s Daily and the Communist Youth League published Weibo posts to extend their congratulations.
Team OMG, comprised of four starters and two substitutes from age 21 to 28 and a 29-year-old coordinator, took home US$400,000 after they came out on top in the First Person Perspective (FPP) mode.
OMG_lionkk clinched the MVP title by racking up a total of 34 kills. For that, he was awarded an extra US$20,000.
As PUBG Corp’s first ever official tournament, PUBG Global Invitation (PGI) invited 20 top professional teams from around the world to compete for US$2 million in its total prize pool. While OMG triumphed in the FPP mode, Gen.G Gold from South Korea won the Third Person Perspective mode.
Esports has been a fast growing industry in China. In the first quarter of 2018, the industry was valued at over US$9.4 billion.
But most importantly, it has been getting huge support straight from the top within the government -- and not just with verbal acknowledgments or congratulations.
For instance, the General Administration of Sports of China, China’s highest governing body of sports, announced that it will be organizing the National Electronic Sports Open in Sichuan this December.
While League of Legends, StarCraft 2 and Hearthstone are official sports, PUBG will also be included as a demonstration sport.
To put that into context: This is a little like the US government organizing an official esports tournament.
It is no accident that Team OMG took home the trophy. The team was the winner of the PUBG China Pro Invitational earlier this year, with each player earning more than US$14,000 from that tournament.
According to Sixth Tone, players on Team OMG earn around US$1,500 as a base salary, with additional income earned by streaming games online.