After hosting the League of Legends World Championship, Shanghai welcomed another large-scale esports live event last weekend, the Peacekeeper Elite Championship (PEC) at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center. Peacekeeper Elite is the Chinese version of PUBG MOBILE, and PEC is the top tier competition between Chinese teams and international teams in the Peacekeeper Elite ecosystem. Eventually, Chinese esports organization NV-XQF took home a 5 million yuan ($760 thousand) prize, the lion’s share of a 12 million yuan ($1.82 million) total prize pool, thus winning the PEC championship for two consecutive years.
During the competition, Leo Liao, marketing director of Tencent Interactive Entertainment Group and president of the Peace Elite League Union (PEL), unveiled that Tencent will invest 200 million yuan ($30.4 million) to boost the esports ecosystem of Peacekeeper Elite in 2021, which doubling down on its commitment from 2020.
In August, Liao said at the Tencent Global Esports Summit that the company would invest 100 million yuan ($14.5 million) in this year’s Peacekeeper Elite ecosystem. He also mentioned that Tencent will host the game’s annual global championship competition called “G-League” in 2021, featuring a $2 million prize pool.
China’s top Peacekeeper Elite competition, the Peace Elite League (PEL) partnered with U.S.-based mixed martial arts league Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in July, and added 21 million yuan ($3 million) for the third season.
The $3 million prize pool means PEL Season 3 now has the highest prize of any seasonal league in Chinese esports history. The game is one of the most profitable mobile games in the world, alongside Honor of Kings, which was also developed by Tencent. According to Sensor Tower, Peacekeeper Elite and PUBG MOBILE generated $208 million global revenue for Tencent in July.
With hindsight, it was predictable that Tencent would focus on developing the domestic Peacekeeper Elite market. On the one hand, China appears to have successfully managed the COVID-19 pandemic, making it a suitable place to host esports events with live audiences. On the other hand, Tencent is still suffering from its PUBG MOBILE debacle in India, where the game was banned at the beginning of September with Indian authorities citing data security and privacy violation concerns.
PUBG Corp, the original developer of PUBG announced last week that the company is preparing to launch a special version of PUBG MOBILE, exclusively for the Indian market. PUBG Corp has also announced a partnership with Microsoft to use its server-hosting service.