Electronic sports producer and network OGN is making its way across the Pacific, announcing on Wednesday it plans to launch in the U.S. — and will spend upward of $100 million to produce live events and other esports content.
As part of the new expansion, OGN, whose parent company is based in South Korea, will partner with PUBG Corp — the publisher of the hit title PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds — and will pour vast sums into the North American market. PlayerUnknown is the second most-watched "battle royale" title in the world, notching just over 500 million total hours of content watched via both Twitch and YouTube Gaming from January to September, according to data from research firm Newzoo. The popular battle royale format refers to survival-oriented games that result in one sole surviving player.
As the exclusive partner for PUBG's North America events, OGN will be live streaming and helping to produce the new National PUBG League (NPL), the very first professional North American league for the game.
When its games begin in January 2019, the NPL will be the largest official PUBG tournament in the U.S. to date with a prize pool of $1 million.
As a division of CJ E&M, one of Asia's largest entertainment companies, OGN has also produced over 500 global esports leagues and events in over 150 countries since launching in 2000. To this day, the broadcaster and producer still creates over 3,000 hours per year of esports and gaming-related content, which generate about 200 million total live stream views annually.
The tremendous popularity of battle royale games has led to an explosion of the genre's esports scene, with competitors now vying to be the last man standing in multi-million dollar prize pool tournaments. With OGN's arrival on U.S. shores, the stakes are now even higher.
Many North American esports fans discovered OGN during the heydays of competitive StarCraft 2 and, in more recent years, through the broadcasts and tournaments of the League of Legends Champions Korea league (LCK).