PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) introduced a new map, Karakin, to its PC and console platforms. Karakin, the fifth map, is a smaller map designed for 64 players instead of the typical 100-player, battle royale. Meanwhile, eSports are thriving in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic, and PUBG Mobile will launch its first pro league in South Asia this week.

PUBG New Map Karakin Mobile Pro League South Asia
Karakin is the fifth map on PUBG and the smallest at 2km by 2 km. (Image: Tencent Games)

Professional sports leagues in almost every country have shut down operation or postponed events during the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic. However, eSports continue to soldier on.

Avid gamers and pros were spending most of their waking hours indoors anyway, playing various video games. The general decree to practice social distancing during the pandemic didn’t affect them at all.

With zero live sports to follow, eSports is expected to receive a huge boost in the coming weeks. Bored people have plenty of time to finally explore the eSports realm.

Casual fans of video games will now have more time on their hands to get back into their old pass-times. The downturn will also give birth to a new generation of gamers who have no choice but to delve into the gaming world.

PUBG is a game that is available on mobile, PC, and console platforms. It’s a lazy comparison to call PUBG a more violent, yet more realistic version of Fortnite, but it’s really the best way to explain the battle-royale knockout game. PUBG is the third most popular title on Steam.

Fifth Map: Karakin

Smaller is better, right? Karakin will be the smallest of five maps on PUBG with a 2 kilometer by 2 kilometer (2×2) dimension. It will be half the size of Sanhok, which is the next-smallest map at 4×4. Compared to the original Erangel map at 8km by 8km, Karakin is only 25% the size.

“It sets the stage for a high-intensity showdown for all the battle royale players,” said one of PUBG’s developers. “In one word, it’s tension.”

PUBG designed a shrunken playing field to induce frantic action. The map also includes a tunnel system that covers the entire battleground from the mountains to the urban areas. It looks more like Miramar’s desert setting. The backstory is that Karakin is an island in the Middle East.

PUBG Map Sizes (KMs)
Karakin 2×2
Sanhok 4×4
Vikendi 6×6
Erangel 8×8
Miramar 8×8

PUBG also added Black Zones to the new Karakin map. These are essentially drone strikes that will decimate a dwelling. The purpose is to force players out of shelter. This is the opposite effect of the current Red Zone in PUBG, which is a bombing raid that forces players to seek shelter indoors.

Karakin will feature breach points that will allow players to use newly-added sticky bombs to knock out walls in buildings. Some buildings in Karakin will also have thin walls that don’t shield players from bullet penetration.

Karakin is currently available on PC and console. The release date for the PUBG Mobile version of Karakin is unknown, but expected this summer.

Middle East, Not Italy

The first map, Erangel, is 8km by 8km and based on Eastern Europe topography.

The second map, Miramar, is a large desert map at 8 km by 8 km located somewhere in Mexico or Latin America.

The third map, Sanhok, became the smallest at the time, coming in at 4km by 4km. The jungle-themed map was based in Southeast Asia and comprised of three major islands with major waterways running through the middle.

The fourth map, Vikendi, is a snow/winter map with mountains based somewhere in Europe. Vikendi became the first 6km by 6km map.

In 2018, a concept for a new PUBG map leaked to the public. Titled “Venzia,” the new map resembled Venice, Italy with multiple canals and waterways that crisscrossed a chain of islands.

The so-called Venzia map was supposed to highlight water-based combat, but in a dense urban environment. It was also fairly small and projected to be around the same size as Sanhok at 4×4.

Venzia was just a mock-up of some ideas that PUBG developers kicked around. Instead, PUBG’s devs settled on Karakin, which is the polar-opposite of Venice with an arid environment replacing the watery playing field.

PUBG Mobile Pro League

Even during the coronavirus pandemic, mobile esports continue to thrive with the PUBG Mobile Pro League.

The inaugural PUBG Mobile South Asia pro league kicks off soon with its first matches starting on March 19. The league will run over three weeks with four daily matches on the PUBG mobile platform.

PUBG Mobile’s first pro league will include 20 elite squads in the South Asia region. The 20 squads are comprised of 15 teams who qualified through various regional tournaments. The PUBG pro league also includes five special invites. Teams will compete in five different groups.

The original four maps (Erangel, Miramar, Sanhok, and Vikendi) will be utilized in the pro league.