Three-time League of Legends world champion organization SK Telecom T1 is starting its own PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds team. Its goal is to be finished with recruitment and ready to play in August, according to Korean news site Fomos’ report today.
We’ve known about SKT’s plan to create some sort of new esports team since May, when CEO Oh Kyung-sik said in an OGN broadcast that the company needed another esport to compete in after its StarCraft 2 team was disbanded in late 2016. With PUBG’s rapid ascension into the realm of the most popular games in the world, it makes sense that it was chosen by SKT.
The organization reportedly wasn’t in a rush to select a game, because it was busy watching the rapid success of its League team. Since the StarCraft team disbanded in 2016, SKT has won the 2017 League Mid-Season Invitational, the 2016 World Championship and, most recently, the team at least made it to the finals at Worlds in 2017 again.
It’s possible that the failure to win Worlds last year is what prompted the SKT organization to finally select a new game to add to its esports arsenal, nearly eight months after Kyung-sik mentioned it.
PUBG was the single most-purchased game of 2017, according to Steam’s end-of-year report on concurrent player numbers, and the game is currently expanding in South Korea at an unbelievable pace. OGN, the leading esports broadcast company in the country, is building a dedicated 100-player arena to host PUBG games, and major esports companies such as KSV eSports and Lunatic-Hai are already considering major investments.
While the rest of the world is busy deciding which battle royale game will become the next big esport between PUBG and Fortnite, SKT and the rest of South Korea have already decided.