Cloud9 is getting out of the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds business.
Speaking on Twitter, the organization announced the release of its National PUBG League roster. Former Cloud9 player Magno “Pr0phie” Ramos discussed the news on social media shortly thereafter.
“As of today, Hunter “hwinn” Winn, Ben “Nerf” Wheeler, Thierry “Kaymind” Kaltenback, and I are free agents,” Pr0phie said on Twitter. “We will be staying together because we are more than just a team, we are a family, and we get along really well together. We will be competing in NPL Phase 3 and the PUBG Worlds in November even if we have to be orgless.”
Pr0phie stated that the squad is looking for a new sponsor in the wake of the move.
The news comes as a big surprise for fans of the team and competitive PUBG fans in general.
Through the first two phases of the NPL’s inaugural season, Cloud9 has been one of the best in North America. The team took second place in both phases, coming in second only to Tempo Storm on both occasions. While they couldn’t imitate that same success at international competitions, Cloud9 was well positioned to earn a spot in the PUBG Global Championship.
No details were given on what led to Cloud9 and the PUBG team splitting up. Though it could be a contractual issue or a disagreement between the team and the organization, many are looking at the news as an indictment of the state of the game’s professional scene.
Despite being one of the stronger leagues in PUBG, the NPL has very few prominent esports organizations investing in the game. A number of notable multi-game brands do take part, including Team Envy and Spacestation Gaming. But the league is predominantly composed of smaller outfits and sponsorless teams.
With competitive PUBG events attracting limited viewership and the game’s average player base declining to less than a quarter of what it once was, the departure of the NPL’s biggest esports name certainly has a bad look.
While the NPL is struggling with attracting popular organizations, this hasn’t been a problem in the PUBG Europe League or the PUBG Korea League. The PEL and PKL both bring together top names from their regions with the likes of Natus Vincere, Team Liquid, and G2 Esports competing in the PEL while SK Telecom T1, Gen.G, and Griffin play in the PKL.
Whether Cloud9’s departure is an aberration or the start of a trend will be a major point of consideration for fans and players alike moving forward.