Just over a year ago, the news broke that Overwatch had become more popular than League of Legends in Korean Internet cafes. But it seems that the popularity of Blizzard’s multiplayer shooter may be waning, as a new challenger is giving Overwatch a run for its money.
While Riot Games’ MOBA League of Legends has since reclaimed the top spot from Overwatch, the Blizzard title has now been pushed into third place by PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. Updated data from Korean game tracking platform Gametrics confirms that with a share of 13.51%, more people are playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in Korean Internet cafes than Overwatch, which is played by 12.99%.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds developer Bluehole is Korean, it should be noted, and so the development team will have expertise in making and marketing a game for a Korean audience. Although battle royale gameplay can be loved universally, it stands to reason that Bluehole would have an ‘in’ with the Korean gaming market.
PUBG (13.51%) overtakes Overwatch (12.99%) for second place in the Korean PC Bang rankings via https://t.co/Ji0BNjUSQ4. BRING ON PROLEAGUE!
— Kwanghee Woo (@SaintSnorlax) August 30, 2017
But even so, the fact that Overwatch has been overtaken by a new contender that is still in early access is still a surprise. Not only has Overwatch just ended its Summer Games 2017 event but there have been Overwatch World Cup group stages (including the Korean team) in the last few weeks as well. Clearly these events have not been enough to keep Korean players engaged and paying to play the game at Internet cafes.
Unfortunately for Blizzard, which benefits greatly from the Korean gaming market and the country’s esports scene, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds may soon tighten its grip on second place. Bluehole has been teasing a new desert map for the game, which is sure to bring even lapsed players back into the fold to see what the fresh environment is all about.
The full version of Battlegrounds is also expected to be released by the end of the year and patches and new content continue to be released regularly. This, on top of the growing esports scene around the game, are only going to encourage more PC gamers, both within and outside of Korea, to take a chance on the game.
Will Blizzard pull out all the stops to put Overwatch back in the second spot? Or will the Battlegrounds hype somehow die down long enough for the bright and bold shooter to take back its place on the rankings? Only time will tell.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is out now on PC. An Xbox One release is planned for 2017.