Launched in 2017, PUBG: Battlegrounds (PUBG) gained popularity within the battle royale genre following a sudden surge of community-driven competitions and leaderboards.
This surge was quickly recognised by KRAFTON, with the game’s publisher investing in creating a professional esports scene for the title shortly after its release. In the modern landscape, many esports-focused developers now emphasise the importance of providing in-game data. However, KRAFTON’s acceptance of this commenced way back in 2018 through the release of its PUBG: Battlegrounds developer API. Essentially, this gave fans access to static data from their games.
PUBG: Battlegrounds’ creators quickly realised that with the growing esports scene, embracing live data at an early stage would be beneficial for the ecosystem, enabling them to lay solid foundations for future innovation.
GRID x KRAFTON: Leading the data revolution for battle royale.
Experienced in static data management, KRAFTON had quite the criteria that it wanted for the company’s first live data partner. Advanced technology capable of catering to esports data qualities, experience working with live data, a network of data partners, and most importantly, passion and dedication, were just some of the requirements.
In 2018, KRAFTON found an alignment of these values in game data platform GRID, establishing the developer’s first live official data partnership.
Minho Yi, Head of Esports at KRAFTON, explained: “Equipped with our learnings from launching the PUBG: Battlegrounds developer API and working with static data, we knew that our live data partner would have to provide state-of-the-art technology to cater to the needs of the fast-paced game that PUBG: Battlegrounds is.
“The GRID Data Platform represented exactly what we needed to build live data pipelines—automated, scalable, and secure solutions with access to a vast network of data consumers. The GRID Team combines passionate esports fans and experienced entrepreneurs, providing a unique and well-informed perspective on the industry and its future. This is necessary to consider our work with GRID a real partnership, where we can truly collaborate on PUBG: Battlegrounds’ data strategy.”
By utilising GRID’s title-agnostic framework, which allows for standardised data sourcing regardless of the genre and title, the GRID Data Platform could leverage its experience from the FPS and MOBA scene to onboard the genre and cater to KRAFTON’s needs. According to GRID, importantly this provided necessary speed, granularity and security of data.
Over the past four years, GRID and KRAFTON developed advanced data infrastructure for PUBG: Battlegrounds which can now be used by other data partners by plugging into the GRID-based solutions. However, what’s unique about this partnership is it goes beyond simply extracting data and distributing it. In the end, PUBG: Battlegrounds became the first battle royale title to enable access to live data that was officially sanctioned by the game developer.
Charlie Hanley-Nickolls, Chief Procurement Officer at GRID, commented on how the relationship began. “KRAFTON was GRID’s first ever publisher integration. We met the PUBG: Battlegrounds’ team in California in 2018 and immediately recognised the potential of our partnership and a long-term game data project.
“Since then, our joint vision for official data has grown to cover the entire esport and support new use cases, adding fantasy, broadcast enhancement, commercial partners and others to the official data ecosystem.”
To ensure its potential is maximised, GRID and KRAFTON also collaborated on the long-term strategy for PUBG: Battlegrounds live data. This resulted in the distribution of PUBG: Battlegrounds data to betting partners and the release of fan-tailored products such as Fantasy PUBG: Battlegrounds Esports. The latter product was introduced to North American fans during the PUBG Global Championship 2022 Finals.
Is live data the future of the PUBG: Battlegrounds esports ecosystem?
At ESI Singapore representatives from GRID, KRAFTON, Moonton and IMG Media discussed the importance of esports data partnerships in the ecosystem. KRAFTON’s focus with live data is primarily on fan-facing entertainment that enriches the immersive experience of PUBG: Battlegrounds esports for fans worldwide.
“Data-driven fan engagement solutions address the needs of our audience,” said Yi. “We believe that in order to provide the highest quality entertainment to our fans we have to be actively involved in setting up these foundations and providing a springboard for innovation. Together with GRID, we are going to continuously innovate to ensure our community can enjoy best-in-class experience, powered by official data.”
Years of collaboration — a rare statement to write in the esports and gaming sector — has allowed GRID and KRAFTON to develop a unique understanding of PUBG: Battlegrounds’ needs. This includes setting up the first PUBG: Battlegrounds live data infrastructure, the launch of the first live-data powered product, and establishing the first offering of live, official data for commercial users. However, GRID emphasised that plans won’t stop there.
“We have some big plans in store for the coming season too – some brand new data products we are sure fans will love. It has been a great four years with the team at KRAFTON and it has been a real pleasure to see our companies grow closer. We’re excited for unlocking the future potential of official PUBG: Battlegrounds data,” concluded GRID’s Chief Procurement Officer.
This piece has been written in collaboration with GRID