The PUBG Mobile team has partnered with Lionel Messi in order to promote a new, soccer-themed update for its hit battle royale game. The PUBG Mobile 2.3 update—dubbed “Football Carnival”—will add a number of time-exclusive consumables, equipment, outfits, and other cosmetics, as well as a new in-game event called Global Chicken Cup which Messi is set to captain.
Tencent has been teasing this collaboration with Messi since the turn of the month. Today’s announcement comes weeks after the PUBG Mobile 2.2 update introduced some major additions, including a complex weather system, Gear Front game mode, and a new map called Nusa. The timing of the update coincides with the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which is almost certainly intentional.
Tencent has yet to attach a firm release date to its soccer-themed PUBG Mobile update, though the publisher did state that the next version of the game will debut later this month. Based on its existing track record, the update will likely roll out over a couple of days and should be available globally no later than November 20, which is when this year’s FIFA World Cup is scheduled to start in Qatar. Should the Global Chicken Cup run in close parallel with the real-life tournament, the event will conclude on December 18. That timeline also corresponds with many previously held PUBG Mobile events.
This celebrity collaboration is hardly the first time Tencent opted to promote its hit battle royale game by teaming up with another high-profile brand, as the Chinese entertainment giant has a long history of doing just that. This May, PUBG Mobile crossed over with The Boys, Amazon’s popular TV series based on the eponymous superhero comics. The company also held promotional events in partnership with hit free-to-play shooter Warframe and supercar manufacturer McLaren Automotive over the course of this year.
The list of PUBG Mobile 2021 cross-promotions is even more impressive, as it includes everything from Spider-Man: No Way Home and League of Legends to K-pop girl group Blackpink, Legendary Pictures’ blockbuster Godzilla vs. Kong, and the Internet sensation that is Pinkfong Baby Shark
Tencent’s aggressive marketing efforts in the vein of the newly announced collaboration with Messi are a large part of the reason why PUBG Mobile is one of the most popular games ever created. In terms of players, PUBG Mobile keeps passing impressive download milestones on a yearly basis. As of this May, four years into its release, the game grossed over $8.42 billion in global revenues, according to Tencent’s latest earnings report.
PUBG Mobile is available now on Android and iOS devices.