Seoul-based developer KRAFTON has unveiled details for the second annual PUBG MOBILE World Invitational (PMWI), which will take place from August 11th – 20th in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Teams will compete for the event’s $3m (~£2.5m) prize pool in front of a live crowd for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. The press release also confirmed the return of the PUBG MOBILE Global Championship (PMGC), which features a total prize pool of $4m (~£3.3m)
Top teams who will compete in week one of the event include ReganS Gaming, Back2Back, TJB Esports and regional champions Nigma Galaxy.
Week two will feature the ‘Afterparty Showdown’ featuring the top teams from week one, six teams chosen from other regions, and what PUBG Mobile has promised will be a ‘special guest’.
The PMWI will take place as part of the Saudi Esports Federation’s Gamers8 Festival, an eight week event in Riyadh this summer that features five other esports competitions, a two day summit for industry professionals and concerts.
The announcement that the event will be held in Riyadh will not come without its critics. Both BLAST and Riot Games faced backlash from fans and industry insiders when a partnership with controversial Saudi government-backed development NEOM was announced.
Saudi Arabian government-backed Savvy Gaming Group has also purchased both ESL Gaming and FACEIT — two of the industry’s largest tournament organisers — for a combined $1.5bn (~£1.1bn).
The Saudi government has previously been accused of ‘esportswashing’, an attempt to use professional gaming and sporting investments to distract from the company’s human rights record, particularly on LGBTQ+ and women’s rights. The timing is also unfortunate given that today’s announcement falls on the final day of Pride month.
“Following the success of the very first PUBG MOBILE World Invitational in 2021, we’re thrilled to bring the event back for the second time in 2022” commented James Yang, Director of PUBG MOBILE Global Esports.
“This year, the PMWI will be the biggest and best yet, especially with our new format allowing more exciting opportunities for both our players and fans.”
The PMWI will be available to stream on PUBG MOBILE Esports’ YouTube, Facebook, and Twitch channels from August 11th – August 20th.