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Tencent’s director of esports explains why the PMGC 2021 grand finals is not a LAN event

Only some teams have traveled to Singapore and Dubai to compete in the event.

Sixteen teams from around the world are competing in the PUBG Mobile Global Championship (PMGC) 2021 grand finals from Jan. 21 to 23. 

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The event is being held as a “semi-LAN” event with some teams traveling to Singapore and Dubai, while others are competing remotely. There is no stage at either location. Players can tune into the competition on the PUBG Mobile esports YouTube channel

In a press conference yesterday, Tencent’s director of esports James Yang explained why the PMGC 2021 grand finals is not being played as a LAN event, even despite several esports titles returning to offline tournaments over the past year. 

Related: How to watch the PMGC 2021 grand finals: Format, teams, and stream

Yang said Tencent really wanted to hold the PMGC finals as an offline event but couldn’t. “I frankly thought COVID would be okay now a year ago.” 

But, with new variants appearing, Yang said Tencent’s first priority was the player’s health and it didn’t want the “difficult situation” of the PMGC 2020 finals to happen again. Last year, all teams had flown out to Dubai to compete from the Coca Cola Arena in the finals. Just a day before the event, however, Tencent announced that several players had tested positive for COVID-19. All teams were subsequently quarantined and competed from their hotel rooms. 

This is why Tencent wanted to minimize the travel of players and teams in the 2021 grand finals. The teams that have flown to different locations have done so to eliminate ping differences and ensure a fair competition.

Yang also spoke about how hosting a LAN event for a battle royale title is different from other games. “Every match, we have 16 teams, that means 64 players and [there is] also the sub, coach, and others. So, there are almost 100 players we need to fly, it’s so hard to manage,” he said.

Yang said he hoped to hold the PMGC 2022 as a LAN event, though. PUBG Mobile’s esports plans for the year haven’t been announced yet, but they are expected to be unveiled during the ongoing grand finals.

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Wasif Ahmed
Covering mobile games and their esports scene.