Several teams who competed in the Battlegrounds Mobile India Series (BGIS) 2021 grand finals last month have told Dot Esports they felt there were communication lapses for the PMGC invite from the event.
The BGIS finals took place from Jan. 13 to 16 with Skylightz Gaming coming out on top to secure the direct invite slot in the PUBG Mobile Global Championship (PMGC) grand finals. After the top three teams of the BGIS failed to meet the criteria for travel, the slot was eventually given to the fourth-placed GodLike Esports, who flew to Dubai to compete in the PMGC grand finals from Jan. 21 to 23.
Dot Esports spoke with representatives close to five teams in the BGIS finals who said there was a lack of communication regarding traveling outside India to compete in the PMGC. The representatives didn’t explicitly state that giving the slot to GodLike was unfair, since the other teams above it didn’t meet the travel requirements. But they expressed disappointment regarding how communication for the event was handled.
The BGIS was the first official esports event for Battlegrounds Mobile India, the Indian version of PUBG Mobile, which was published by Krafton. The tournament, however, was conducted by local esports production company, Tesseract Esports. The PMGC, on the other hand, was organized by Tencent. All teams stated they were only in contact with Tesseract throughout the BGIS.
Up until late November 2021, it was unclear if an Indian team would even be competing in the PMGC. Tencent announced on Nov. 29 that an Indian team would be given a direct invite into the PMGC grand finals. It wasn’t revealed, however, on what conditions this invite would be given out.
Tencent finally confirmed on Dec. 23 that the winner of the BGIS will secure the direct invite to the PMGC grand finals. With PUBG Mobile‘s ban in India due to alleged data privacy concerns, it should have been clear to the company that the invited team from India would have to travel outside of the country to compete. All teams told Dot Esports that it wasn’t immediately communicated to them by anyone that they would have to travel.
Only two of the five teams Dot Esports spoke with said they were asked for the passport status of players on Dec. 29 by a Tesseract employee. For one of the teams, this was through a simple two-word WhatsApp message, however. The other three teams, on the other hand, were informed as late as Jan. 6 by Tesseract to apply for passports and provide an update.
A fresh passport application takes between 30 to 45 days to be completed. There is a “Tatkaal” way of applying in India, which issues a passport within one to three days. One of the teams Dot Esports spoke with said they weren’t aware of the Tatkaal mode of application and that the organizers should have clearly communicated to them to apply this way.
Representatives of two different teams in the BGIS finals told Dot Esports there appeared to be miscommunication within Tesseract as well, since they were also not aware of the travel criteria and often gave conflicting statements.
The first time teams received official communication that they had to travel to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to compete in the PMGC grand finals was on Jan. 11 through a WhatsApp message. It said teams had to have their passports and visa documents ready but no deadline was mentioned. Teams were also supposed to get two separate RT PCR tests done by Jan. 13 and 16. Additionally, it stated that Tesseract would be bearing all expenses for the travel to Dubai.
Teams were again reminded of the status of their documents on Jan. 12, 13, and 15. In none of these WhatsApp messages was there any deadline mentioned for submitting the documents.
Finally, the official terms and conditions for the travel to Dubai were sent through a document on WhatsApp on Jan. 16 at 12:01am IST, the last day of the BGIS finals. It stated that at least two members of the winning team should have passports, be fully vaccinated, and possess a negative test for COVID-19. The supporting documents were supposed to be submitted by 11pm on the same day. Failing to do so would result in the next highest-ranked team getting the PMGC invite.
A team that fulfills the BGIS rulebook’s roster criteria didn’t necessarily meet the terms and conditions for the travel to Dubai. The BGIS rulebook stated that players between 16 to 18 years old could compete in the tournament with parental consent. India launched vaccinations for minors aged between 15 to 18 years old on Jan. 3, making it impossible for an underage player to be fully vaccinated by Jan. 16.
One of Skylightz Gaming’s players was underage, which automatically made him ineligible for travel to Dubai. A representative from another team told Dot Esports they certainly would have taken the requirements for travel to the PMGC into consideration when selecting a roster if it was communicated before the BGIS.
Teams could loan up to three players to complete their six-man roster for the PMGC, according to the terms and conditions.
With the top three teams failing to submit the documents by the stipulated deadline, fourth-placed GodLike Esports represented the country at the PMGC. All teams conveyed to Dot Esports that this situation could have been prevented and they were disappointed in the communication by Tesseract. They also expressed hope for Krafton to ensure the communication is more efficient and streamlined in the future.
Teams suggested the criteria for qualification and travel to the next event be communicated before the tournament begins. They also demanded more transparency in the process of disqualifying teams.
One of the representatives said they wanted to see Krafton form a “council” with the top teams like other esports titles, so there can be complete transparency in the decision-making. This would also enable teams to offer their input.
GodLike later secured 13th place in the PMGC Finals with one chicken dinner. For fans in India, however, the question lingered about the country’s performance if the slot was given to one of the qualified teams that didn’t meet the traveling requirements.