To celebrate the game surpassing two million copies sold, Bluehole announced a 2017 Charity Invitational event, inviting 128 players to compete over their official Twitch channel to raise money for the Gamers Outreach Foundation, with Bluehole matching all donations up to US$100,000. The competition ran in early May 2017, and raised at least US$120,000 from viewers along with Bluehole’s US$100,000 match, and served as a prototype for future esportsevents for the game. During the August 2017 Gamescom event, Bluehole and ESL organized the first PUBG invitational tournament, with a $350,000 prize pool. Separate events were held for solo players, two-player teams, two-player teams fixed to first-person perspective, and four-player squads. Each event featured three matches, with the player or team scoring the highest across all three named winners.
Greene said that while he had envisioned the battle royale format to be a spectator sport since his ARMA II mod, their approach to making PUBG an esport would be a matter of taking “baby steps”. Greene said that they would not actively pursue esports until after the game was fully released and that all major bugs were eliminated. The Gamescom 2017 event demonstrated the issues surrounding the logistics of running a large PUBG tournament with a large number of players involved, and they had worked alongside ESL to explore how to do this effectively in the future. Further, Greene stated there was also the need to establish a format for presenting a PUBG match to make it interesting to spectators, which he thought would take some time to develop given the nature of the emergent gameplay, comparing it to established first-person shooters and multiplayer online battle arena esport games.A 20-team, 80-player tournament with a US$200,000 prize pool was organized by Intel in Oakland in November 2017.