IEM Oakland has added PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS (“PUBG”) to Counter-Strike: Global Offensive as the smash-hit battle royale game will make its debut in North America.
The Bluehole title will come to the Intel Extreme Masters main stage for the PUBG Invitational where no less than $200,000 (£150,000) will be available. 20 teams of four, thus 80 players, will make their way to Oakland to battle it out for the prize money.
It’s the second big PUBG tournament hosted by ESL, after the event at Gamescom earlier this year (August) which saw the record-breaking title brought to an esports stage for the first time. The event will take place between 18th-19th November at the Oracle Arena in California.
Michal Blicharz, Vice President Pro Gaming at ESL commented in the release: “Everyone’s been waiting for the title that will come in and be a game changer for esports and it seems like PUBG could be it. It’s different, it’s new, and it’s growing at an unprecedented rate. We’re thrilled to be giving the game its competitive debut in North America.”
“We hope this serves as another excellent opportunity to experiment with a different format,” said Changhan Kim, Chief Executive Officer of PUBG Corporation. “It is essential that we gain experience from events like gamescom PUBG Invitational and Intel® Extreme Masters Oakland in order to take the right steps in the future.”
10 teams will be invited to the event, with 10 set to battle it out for qualification later in the month. It comes as League of Legends departs from IEM Oakland with Riot run “Rift Rivals” taking its place. Whilst there were rumours that Dota may come to IEM instead, PUBG has been chosen. With the tournament being run alongside Counter-Strike, it’ll be interesting to see the crowd split as fans of FPS titles will be spoilt for choice.
Esports Insider says: Another push forward for PUBG as an esport title. There’s still many issues, but with recent patches more spectator features are being lined up and added. $200,000 is no small amount either, so we’re excited to see what goes down in Cali.