How PUBG Mobile Became My Most Popular Tournament Hosted at College!

Disclaimer: This article is sharing a story of mine and presenting values to be taken away. The key takeaways have been listed at the end. Click here to skip to them.

Coming to Lambton College meant a lot of potential for hosting esport events. A college is the ideal grounds to experiment and learn when it comes to running esport events.

Also, they have an esport arena with 20+ gaming computers. They wanted more esport events to promote the use of the arena, and as a passionate esport event organizer, I was ready to serve.

In addition to me, there were a few others who hosted events and there was a consistent disappointment between most of the event, the turnout.

Lambton College only houses about 1500 students and was located in Sarnia, Ontario; Sarnia is an extremely dull city with the population dominated primarily by old folk. This proved as a challenge for event organizers.

To put it into perspective, the Magic the Gathering tournament I hosted got 8 players and my League of Legends tournament got 10. Someone else’s CS GO tournament got 12 players and another group’s Street Fighter tournament got 5.

Clearly those are not the numbers to get excited over. However, my 2nd PUBG Mobile tournament got over 40 players plus additional spectators. Most of you must be thinking “What? PUBG? Mobile?? Over games like League of Legends, Magic the Gathering and CS GO?!?” At least that’s how I would have felt if I was reading this article.

The only other esport event on the college that exceeds that number (and focuses on only one game), from my knowledge, is the Sarnia Smash Series, which is a series of tournaments for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The reason being though is because it has been running for a long time now and it grew with the organizer networking with players outside the city to travel for the monthly.

Our PUBG Mobile tournament was completely composed of students on the campus and it was only our 2nd one.

So what gives? How did we manage to get so many players for a game like PUBG Mobile? Could we get the same or more numbers on PUBG for the PC? All this will be explained below!

Context

I ended up running the first PUBG Mobile tournament as a class assignment. I expected to get an audience of like 3 players but my group members insisted their friends would come and play. With less than a week to advertise it, I had to rely on connections to get players. 

We ended up getting 10 people, which surprised me. They were all international students, as was the rest of my group, who came from India.

As my passions grew and I kept active on running events, I ended up taking the position as president of Lambton College’s esport club known as the Lambton College Gaming Community (or LCGC). 

Moving forward with the LCGC, it was important that we hosted events that would bring more students out and involved. 

Understanding Demographic

Prior to that point, I believed games like League of Legends, Overwatch and Fortnite would be an easy ticket to success. Once I got the chance of testing out some of this games, I quickly learned that I was just completely off the mark.

I had to accept the fact that I did not know the demographic; I needed a way to know what people played. I believe that if you have questions that you should just ask, so I decided to ask as many people as possible and compile a database.

Our method to collect data was simple. Since we at the time only aimed to get more college students involved, we concluded that we will run a booth with a questionnaire. 

Our Booth

Our booth had a small monitor on the side saying “Play Video Games? Come Talk To Us!”. Our booth was set up from 9 AM to 3 PM. Although most of our booth was good, we had some mistakes with our booth setup. 

We chose a high traffic area, but it was a pathway where people only come to while walking between classes. Additionally, we were a bit on the sidelines where we were hard to be noticed by many people walking by.

After experiencing running a booth several times, having an incentive/pull factor like a Nintendo Switch with some audio projected from the game would have brought more people to survey. Also, setting up in an area where people are relaxing, ideally after their classes (like a cafeteria) who have helped.

Data Collecting Time

As we ran the booth, we got a handful of different people to approach us. There were a lot of unique answers to games I would not have expected, like Super Smash Bros. Melee, Magic the Gathering and FIFA (all which were games I never thought would be popular). 

But our issue was that there were no consistent answers. Everyone played very different games, so we were not able to determine which games could potentially bring high traffic. 

Midway while running the booth, I noticed that no one said PUBG or PUBG Mobile, the game I hosted for my first tournament. Then I realized something, we had no international student walk up to our booth.

I was curious, how many people actually played PUBG Mobile? I had to get creative to find out. So for every international student who walked by, I would stop them and ask them if they played PUBG Mobile.

To my surprise, about half of them would say yes. It was crazy to me! When I asked if they played normal PUBG, most of them said no.

The key thing to note is that I would have never got that info if I did not host that tournament prior. Most students who run events at Lambton would not have known either.

Our booth did not do its job and we lost crucial data. We only got lucky that I realized it sooner, otherwise it would have been overlooked potential.

So Why PUBG Mobile?

As mentioned earlier, our first PUBG Mobile event was composed completely of international students from India; Our second event was also composed of all international students.

Upon doing some more research, PUBG Mobile, although not as popular in North America, has grown a lot in countries like India where the internet has become more accessible and gaming is done primarily on mobile devices.

That explains why normal PUBG is not popular, they mainly have gamed on mobile devices. PC gaming was out of the question.

Key Takeaways

  • Depending on your objective, ensure the method you use to collect data reaches the people you want to reach and make sure segments of your audience are not being neglected through your methods (we would have lost our largest tournament game)
  • When it comes to esports, do not be closed-minded and assume you know your demographic without proper research. I did not conduct research prior and my assumptions missed the mark on what games are actually popular in the college