Esports will be making its debut as a medal event in the Asian Games 2022 with eight video games, including FIFA, PUBG Mobile, Arena of Valor, Dota 2, League of Legends, Dream Three Kingdoms 2, Hearthstone, and Street Fighter V.
For PUBG Mobile and Arena of Valor, a separate Asian Games version is being developed. But, per a new report, it seems that the Asian Games version of PUBG Mobile will be quite different from the original.
According to a report by South Korea’s Money Today, which cites a Krafton official, person-to-person shooting will not be allowed in the Asian Games version of PUBG Mobile. Instead, players will compete in their driving and shooting skills.
This means that the battle royale experience that PUBG is known for could be removed at the Asian Games. The report says that the reason behind this is due to concerns that it would “harm the harmony” between countries.
Dot Esports reached out to Krafton for comment but it was directed to the Asian Esports Federation (AESF), which is responsible for esports at the 2022 Asiad. The AESF didn’t respond.
Tencent, however, gave Dot Esports the following statement: “In accordance with the sportsmanship and the Olympics vision, the PUBG Mobile Asian Games version will integrate the iconic gameplay of PUBG Mobile and real-sport game experience, which we hope will bring the most unique excitement for our audience.”
It seems that the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) wants to prevent violence from being propagated at the Asian Games, which is why players won’t be allowed to shoot others. It’s currently unclear what Tencent means by integrating PUBG Mobile’s gameplay with real-sport game experiences, but the game’s most recent update could offer a clue.
In PUBG Mobile’s most recently-released version 1.9, a new shooting range and racing mode was introduced to the Cheer Park. Players can practice in the shooting range to earn points based on their accuracy. The racing mode, on the other hand, allows players to have one-vs-one races with other players in PUBG Mobile’s different vehicles. The Asian Games version may have something similar to provide a competitive experience while removing interpersonal shooting.
It’s not surprising to see something like this happening. Last year, when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted for closer ties with esports, the body’s president Thomas Bach said that video games that promote violence won’t be included. He said that this was because these games were against “Olympic values.”
Besides PUBG Mobile; Arena of Valor, Dota 2, League of Legends, and Street Fighter V all have considerable amounts of violence. If these games proceed without any changes, it would mean that the line for “Olympic values” can be drawn at shooting others with guns.
Before the Asian Games in September, another IOC-sanctioned event with esports is being held which is the 2021 Southeast Asian Games from May 13 to 21 in Vietnam. It also features PUBG Mobile along with seven other titles. Currently, no reports have emerged if a similar arrangement is being made for the battle royale game at the SEA Games too.