MANILA, Philippines — The rise of the esports scene has been attributed to its popularity in the Southeast Asian region. According to a report released last February by market research firm Research and Markets, at least 1 in 3 smartphone users in the region play mobile games at least once a week.
The meteoric growth of mobile gamers has prompted many publishers to focus on developing more accessible titles that also foster a sense of community among gamers. Tencent’s PUBG Mobile is one such game that has certainly attracted a passionate following.
In an interview with Philstar.comGeneral Manager of Global Publishing and Global Esports for Tencent Games, Vincent Wang, highlighted the strength of the esports title in terms of its community engagement and how it continues to thrive in a highly competitive industry.
“PUBG Mobile has built a passionate community in the region, we have a good interaction with our community – we listen to their requests and cherish their feedback while developing content. We believe these reasons are what help PUBG Mobile maintain its relevance , its demand and its position as one of the most popular mobile games in the world.” mentioned Wang.
Looking at the trend in Southeast Asia with events like the Southeast Asian Games including esports as one of its competitive events, Wang believes the esports industry will continue to grow and that it’s up to game publishers to help maintain a healthy gaming community.
“At PUBG Mobile, we take a three-pronged approach that focuses on people, planet, and unlocking potentials to pave the way for building a healthy, inclusive, and sustainable gaming community. On the one hand, we value our players and their well-being has always been our top priority. We firmly believe that mobile gaming is for everyone and that inclusivity runs through our veins. For example, we have introduced the option of a In the Philippines, we also held a women-only tournament to break down gender bias in the game and empower women in esports,” said Wang.
PUBG Mobile in the Philippines
In the Philippines, the popularity of PUBG Mobile has also seen a growth in popularity due to its focus on engaging the gaming community.
“The PUBG Mobile community offers offers that go above and beyond and are extraordinary.” said PUBGM pitcher Aiman ”Bekbek” Arabain. Along with the usual esports journeys of being a professional gamer or pitcher, PUBG Mobile offers gamers the opportunity to be a community leader that helps enhance the gaming experience.
Arabain credits the contribution of gamers and content creators to why PUBG Mobile’s popularity has steadily increased in the country. “Dahil is the contribution of professional gamers, content creators and perhaps more engaging if PUBG Mobile for the target audience.”
But in terms of PUBG Mobile Esports, Arabain admits that other Southeast Asian countries are ahead in terms of experience and team management, citing that most local teams lack brand sponsors and fund their own campaigns.
“Twice a year, lang kasi tayo his esports calendar date, yun yung mahirap. But with the shift to a new esports calendar in which we have PMPL, PMCO and other national tournaments, nakikita ko yung pag-angat ng PUBG Mobile esports scene natin,” Arabain explained.
The PUBG Mobile community in the country has certainly seen a boost with the recent Southeast Asian Games showcasing the country’s potential in the esports title. Philippine Esports Organization (PESO) Executive Director Marlon “Lon” Marcelo said they are already in talks with Tencent to host events and activities that could nurture more athletes for PUBG Mobile.
As a Tagalog stream caster during the SEA Games, Arabain couldn’t help but be proud of the Filipino representatives, especially after seeing their performance during the PMPL, where SIBOL’s first team and then KHI Esports were eliminated in the group round and team captain John Raymart “Rankid” Rocello received a suspension and warning due to a confidentiality rule after Rocello posted PMPL content without consent.
“Super different from the Pilipinas in the international meta, even if the Sila team in PUBG Mobile adapted the international meta in a short time. Nakakaproud tingnan yung development, lalo na ni Philippines Team One, not only their strategy because they won several chickens diners but also in their development as professional players nung mga final moments nung aired ngayon i couldn’t help but be moved watching them improve not only in play but also in character as what a professional player should be in a short period of time.” Arabian shared.
PUBG Mobile’s dive into Filipino culture
One of the strengths of PUBG Mobile has been its many collaborations with different cultural icons that pique the interest of gamers. Collaborations with the likes of animated series Jujustu Kaizen, Premier League team Liverpool FC, Riot’s League of Legends: Arcane, and Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Spiderman: No Way Home have given the battle royale shooter a new experience of game.
Apart from partnerships with big titles, PUBG Mobile has also focused on including distinct Filipino updates that touch the hearts of their Filipino fans. Arabian shared how surprised they were when the Filipino voice pack was announced, as it was a different feeling to experience the game with our own spoken language.
“Tencent tries to touch each country’s culture. The diversity Tencent gives their game makes PUBG Mobile more interesting and helps to make more people curious about the game.” Arabic shared.
Along with the Filipino Voice Pack, PUBG Mobile is once again releasing a Filipino-themed update inspired by none other than the Ibong Adarna from the Philippines. The update marks the first Filipino character set to feature in the game.
During the Rise from the Ashes event, PUBG Mobile players have a chance to win the limited edition Phoneix Adarna bundle exclusive to the Southeast Asia region. The limited content features a flaming phoenix design inspired by the mythological creature, Ibong Adarna, from the famous Filipino poem of the same name.