Michele Attisani – FACEIT – Betting big on PUBG
FACEIT made a big move in 2018 by integrating PUBG into its competitive platform and, more recently, the company made another big commitment: hosting the first global event in the game’s inaugural esports season. The FACEIT Global Summit: PUBG Classic is coming to ExCeL London over April 16th-21st.
Esports Insider reached out to Michele Attisani, Co-founder and CBO of FACEIT to discuss the company’s increased involvement in the Battle Royale shooter.
Esports Insider: How involved are you when it comes to deciding on a game to work within, in terms of hosting events and integrating it into FACEIT’s platform?
Michele Attisani: I’m not the only one deciding but it’s a discussion that we have together and we look at the trends in the market. We’ll look at what the community likes and what the players like. And, on top of that, we also try to understand how well we can fit and work with the publisher of a game. Then once you believe in the game based on all these factors, we decide “What do we want to focus on?” and to what extent the relationship materialises.
ESI: So when PUBG was like officially integrated into the platform, the player base for the game was already on a downward spiral. What was it that made you think you should still go ahead with the integration?
MA: I think that’s a normal cycle when a game is released and has the success that PUBG had. I think it broke around seven world records in terms of fastest selling video game and so on. I expected to see the numbers to stabilize a bit. When the people are saying like “the numbers of of collapsed”, well, the reality is still like that it’s the number one game on Steam globally.
It’s one of the largest games globally and on top of that, I think what made it attractive to us was that, especially if you look at Battle Royale games, it’s a game that has embraced esports and has really invested the time and resources into trying to make the game more and more suitable for esports and supports the esports ecosystem through the game itself. So it was a strong alignment of intent with the publisher and in this case that motivated us, as well as the the game itself; the game is pretty hardcore. It has some of the best shooting mechanics that you can find – it’s one of the most sophisticated from that standpoint and has a pretty hardcore community of players around it.
So for all these reasons we feel that PUBG is a very strong fit for FACEIT, both from a platform standpoint and from a content and events standpoint.
“There’s no blueprint on making a successful Battle Royale esport yet.“
ESI: How hands on have PUBG Corp. been during your time working together?
MA: They’ve been pretty hands on in the relationship and they have a pretty clear vision of where they’d like to take esports in the next five years, but at the same time they are very open to any feedback and suggestions. They realize that this is a new thing for them, there’s no blueprint on making a successful Battle Royale esport yet.
They’re very much experimenting in that space, and they are also relying on partners like us that have a lot of experience working on other games and have worked around esports for a long time and can provide meaningful insights for them to inform their strategy moving forward. It’s been a very positive experience working with them.
ESI: Would you say there has been a lot of overlap in players between CS:GO and PUBG or has the game brought along its own community of players?
MA: There’s a good number of players that enjoy to play both games. I think that the games are not too dissimilar, they’re both first-person shooters and have similarities in terms of shooting mechanics and the way in which weapons work.
They are closer to each other than other games in the genre, at least, so we have seen players that have been enjoying both games. Obviously then, in terms of core mechanics, the two games are very different and that provides a good variety of players, too.
ESI: Was FACEIT ever put off working with PUBG considering the amount of online leagues it has had in the past couple of years?
MA: Not really, we think that we can provide a different experience. When it comes to FACEIT, we have a platform and a community that are highly unique in this space. We always feel like we have our own place in the market. We’re actually happy to see when there are other platforms in the ecosystem in the game because it’s usually a signal that the system is quite healthy. Therefore, usually when we see other people doing things in the game and the community, we take that as a positive signal rather than the other way around.
ESI: The FACEIT Global summit: PUBG Classic was announced recently, how did that come about?
MA: When PUBG Corp. decided their esports structure for 2019, including the different regional leagues and global events in 2019, they had an RFP process which a number of companies participated in. We felt like the timing was right for us as we were just like coming off of our CS:GO Major and completed our integration with the FACEIT platform. We decided to put forward our proposal and bid for the event and PUBG Corp. really liked our proposal and decided to select us for the first global event in the calendar. We are going to have 24 of the best teams coming from all corners of the planet and effectively we are able to crown the first PUBG world champions.
“London and the UK are staples for us at this point but we’ve already started to do more and more in other regions“
ESI: In terms of the format of the event, is that down to FACEIT for decide or is that dictated by PUBG Corp?
PUBG Corp. has decided the overall structure of the esports circuit for 2019 because obviously it has to be consistent across the board throughout the entire year. Effectively, what we decided together, was for this event to host 24 teams. We feel that for the first global event that was the right number, we didn’t want to go with a smaller number considering the relevance and importance of this event.
Effectively, I think PUBG Corp. then tried to come up with a plan that is consistent throughout the entire year on how many spots will be assigned to all the different regions. And I think, as far as I can see, with this first event they had to take a bit of an arbitrary decision cause there’s 24 slots so they had to split them somehow.
You know, it’s not an easy task. At the same time, I like the model that we’re seeing, based on the performance of different regions in this event then we’re going to assign additional slots for the second global event in November. I think that’s definitely a step in the right direction.
Obviously us being the host of the first global event, we didn’t have any previous benchmark to be able to say “let’s rebalance the slots.”
ESI: With the likes of the CS:GO Major last year and now the PUBG Classic, you’re hosting a number of big events in London. Will this be a continuing trend moving forward?
MA: Right now we have headquarters in London and we’ve been doing a lot of events here. I particularly think we’ve run four events so far in the SSE Arena in Wembley. This is going to be our first event at ExCeL London and there are a number of factors for that. In particular, because of stage configuration and technical needs for a PUBG and Battle Royale production we decided to go for this venue this time and we’re going to be back in Wembley again for ECS Season 7 finals in June.
Definitely London and the UK are staples for us at this point but we’ve already started to do more and more in other regions and other countries as well.