PUBG is one of modern gaming's biggest juggernauts, being a trailblazer of the Battle Royale genre. Its mobile version, PUBG Mobile, is currently the third-highest-grossing mobile game of all time. It inches closer to the number 2 and number 1 highest-grossing mobile games, despite not being out for nearly as long.
The re-released mainland China version of PUBG, Peacekeeper Elite, is no slouch either. Released in 2019, Peacekeeper Elite has been a breadwinner for Tencent for years. And just like PUBG Mobile, the mobile Esports scene for Peacekeeper Elite is intense and widely successful.
ESTNN had the honor and pleasure of sitting down with Tiger Xu, Esports Tournament Head for Peacekeeper Elite. We had the chance to talk about the process of putting on these spectacular events and the future of Tencent in general and Peacekeeper Elite Esports in particular. Tiger has been with Tencent Games since 2015 and previously was Marketing Manager of Sports and Leisure Games. He had a hand in developing the tournament system for Honor of Kings (Arena of Valor), the world's most-played mobile MOBA and highest-grossing mobile game of all-time.
- 1 As the person in charge of PEL events, what is your favorite part of the job? What do you love the most?
- 2 Are you exclusively focused on the Peace Elite project within Tencent Games or its subsidiaries? Or are you involved in other exciting projects as well?
- 3 What do you do in your spare time? Are you as active in playing Peace Elite on your own as you are in participating in tournaments? If not, what is your favorite game to play for leisure?
- 4 So far, you have achieved impressive positions and work experience at Tencent Games. Does this align with your expected goals?
- 5 What are your goals for the next five years? Will you stay in Tencent Games or go elsewhere? Do you have any specific goals/dreams to achieve?
- 6 What is the most challenging part of hosting an event like the PEL Spring/Summer Tournament? Does everything always go according to plan, or do adjustments have to be made until the very last moment?
- 7 Currently, the foundation of esports is not yet stable enough, especially in the field of mobile esports. Many people believe that mobile esports have yet to gain mainstream recognition. However, “PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds Mobile” (PUBG Mobile), as the pioneer of tactical esports games, has a solid position (It is the best tactical esports product in terms of experience and optimization on mobile devices). It is also one of the most profitable mobile games in history. How will Tencent Games continue to operate PUBG and PUBG Mobile? Will it remain a top priority for Tencent Games? How confident are you in the future of mobile esports?
As the person in charge of PEL events, what is your favorite part of the job? What do you love the most?
I enjoy every aspect of my job, from designing schedules and rules to enhancing live streaming and broadcasting quality, innovating league management, and collaborating with brands. I'm always eager to be hands-on in every aspect of my work.
Lately, I've been focusing on applying technology innovation and working on the Hangzhou Asian Games project. Combining traditional sports with e-sports can invigorate tactical competition, and I believe this integration and innovation is the future. Through leveraging the Asian Games, we strive to further elevate the international influence of tactical competition.
Are you exclusively focused on the Peace Elite project within Tencent Games or its subsidiaries? Or are you involved in other exciting projects as well?
While my main focus is on Peace Elite, I am also a sports enthusiast who is eager to explore the potential for blending e-sports with traditional sports in other areas. I believe there are exciting possibilities for cross-sector innovation, and I am always looking for opportunities to contribute my skills and expertise.
What do you do in your spare time? Are you as active in playing Peace Elite on your own as you are in participating in tournaments? If not, what is your favorite game to play for leisure?
In my free time, I like to stay active by participating in sports and watching various sporting events. While I enjoy playing Peace Elite with friends, I recognize that there is still a significant difference between my skill level and that of professional players.
Aside from Peace Elite, I also enjoy playing the FIFA and NBA 2K series for leisure.
So far, you have achieved impressive positions and work experience at Tencent Games. Does this align with your expected goals?
For me personally, it aligns with my initial expectations when I graduated. However, when it comes to the project I have been working on – Peace Elite – there is still much room for growth. Here, let me share with you our direction for striving in the field of Peace Elite esports. We hope to expand through the extension of our online and offline duo-ecosystem, exploring bigger opportunities for development in the future.
- In terms of visual experience, we aim to create a virtual world that truly embodies the essence of esports.
- In terms of talent development and management, we will continue to explore a long-term and stable model for cultivating young players and talent pipeline.
- In terms of regional cooperation, we will take into consideration local characteristics and introduce a mature esports industry chain to bring new economic growth to the region through esports events and traffic.
- We hope to bring positive and uplifting power and a sense of social responsibility to esports users by tapping the influences of star players. This will increase the attention of people across different sectors and contribute to establishing a positive and healthy image for the industry.
- Through technological innovation and commercial cooperation, Peace Elite esports can achieve a more realistic online and offline effect that comprehensively covers various aspects of our daily lives. We plan to create a super digital world within the game – “Peace Elite World” – in 2023. Players can visit and play anytime, anywhere, creating an immersive interactive scene between consumers and brands. This will help address the challenge of brand marketing demand conversion in esports.
What are your goals for the next five years? Will you stay in Tencent Games or go elsewhere? Do you have any specific goals/dreams to achieve?
Firstly, I hope to work with PEL to grow it from a new project to a mature ecosystem that combines the scale of viewership and commercial value of esports through the means of sports business.
Furthermore, I aspire to keep learning in the fields of gaming and esports. As a graduate recruit of Tencent, I have been continually motivated by its corporate culture which encourages me to innovate and take bold actions. Moving forward, I also hope to contribute with my own efforts to the shaping of Tencent's corporate culture for the next two decades.
Regarding my personal dreams, I aspire to continuously set and achieve new objectives in my professional life while also nurturing my love for life and exploring different continents of the world.
What is the most challenging part of hosting an event like the PEL Spring/Summer Tournament? Does everything always go according to plan, or do adjustments have to be made until the very last moment?
Speaking of “making adjustments until the last moment,” we can share a story from the 2022 PEL Summer Finals. In order to improve the viewing experience of the tournament, we wanted to come up with something new for the stage background, which had traditionally featured an “airdrop box.” However, the three-dimensional and slanted airdrop box had its center of gravity all in the front, making it unbalanced as a whole. Additionally, since the stage was a slanted cube, there was a protruding corner in the front, making it uneven and posing a challenge to the production of the naked-eye 3D screen effect.
In order to maintain the stability and safety of the stage, we worked with our partner VSPO and went through many versions of designs. Our designers spent a lot of time designing the visual materials and adjusting the main camera angles and trajectory to accurately determine the position relationship between the stage and the main camera. After much effort, we finally succeeded in achieving a high-quality live broadcast effect that enabled the audience to witness various elements, such as the tournament logo, map, and strategic points gradually emerging.
Currently, the foundation of esports is not yet stable enough, especially in the field of mobile esports. Many people believe that mobile esports have yet to gain mainstream recognition. However, “PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds Mobile” (PUBG Mobile), as the pioneer of tactical esports games, has a solid position (It is the best tactical esports product in terms of experience and optimization on mobile devices). It is also one of the most profitable mobile games in history. How will Tencent Games continue to operate PUBG and PUBG Mobile? Will it remain a top priority for Tencent Games? How confident are you in the future of mobile esports?
We will continue to focus on the operation of “Peace Elite” and explore innovative directions for tactical competition. The reasons are as follows:
① Tactical competition itself is an innovation: In traditional sports, the more players there are in a game and the more complex the rules become, the more challenging it is to achieve impressive teamwork and tactics. The birth of tactical competition is itself an innovation in sports. By creating specific scenarios for players, the difficulty of proceeding with the game is greatly reduced, and the rules and live broadcast of the game can be easily implemented.
As pioneers in this innovative space, we have introduced a range of cutting-edge technologies, such as multi-signal integration production, multi-site remote interaction production, and multi-battlefield multi-angle viewing systems. We have customized the underlying competition and production system for tactical competition while also innovatively introducing features such as real-time following of players' first-person perspective, team-exclusive online home court perspective, and digital human competition field fusion. These advancements have greatly reduced the threshold for watching the game and significantly enhanced the viewing experience for spectators. As a result, mobile tactical competition has become a benchmark for mobile e-sports. This has also made mobile tactical competition a benchmark for mobile e-sports.
② The openness and inclusivity that characterizes “Peace Elite” aligns well with the direction that the gaming industry is taking in the coming decade. In my student days, RPGs were perhaps the most popular type of game, involving completing tasks and dungeons repeatedly according to the game's rules. However, today the new trends are “more players” and “more open and inclusive game information.” For instance, we recently launched the “Zhongchuan Archipelago” gameplay as part of the Oasis Era mode, which allowed Communication University of China graduates to experience the complete graduation ceremony process online during the COVID-19 pandemic. This experience made it possible to enjoy party celebrations that would have been difficult to achieve in real life, and the feeling of accomplishment that came with it was truly incredible.
③ The global impact of mobile tactical competition has experienced a significant increase. We foresee promising prospects for the expansion of Peace Elite esports events worldwide. The following are some of the reasons for our optimism:
- Tactical competition games continue to maintain their immense popularity, and the game and esports ecosystem mutually empower each other. In China alone, Peace Elite boasts tens of millions of daily active users, and these players have a strong desire for game and esports content consumption. Our anchor ecosystem is highly developed and closely connected to our esports events. The mutual empowerment between the game and esports ecosystem can further propel the growth of esports events.
2. The number of participating teams in Peace Elite esports events has continued to rise. Specifically, the 2022 PMGC that concluded in January saw an increase in the overall number of international teams participating. This was exemplified by the expansion of participating teams to 50, making it the largest event in the history of the Peace Elite League. Teams such as S2G from Turkey, DRS from Nepal, and A7 from Brazil have performed exceptionally well in this World Championship, and competitive teams have emerged from Southeast Asia, South Korea, and other regions as well.
3. PEL continues to attract new clubs and players to its rosters. In the Spring Season, we are pleased to introduce the WOLVE as a new club partner. The WOLVE is a renowned club that has made significant achievements in multiple sports fields, and their participation in PEL serves as evidence of the event's vitality.
4. International matches have further increased the attention and visibility of esports events: PUBG Mobile Asian Games Version has been selected as one of the seven esports events for the upcoming Hangzhou Asian Games. With this year's Asian Games, mobile tactical competition will be able to expand its influence and connect with the international community even further.