Last week, I added PUBG Mobile (PUBGM) to the limited list of games I played on my phone. Through the experience, my biases and negative assumptions were debunked about the first-person shooter (FPS) game.
As mentioned in the previous article, the main reason I picked up PUBG in the first place was because BLACKPINK was going to be in the are(n)a.
Being a BLINK myself, I couldn’t turn down a free, virtual concert, where sweaty crowds wouldn’t exist.
The event was held in-game over the weekend of July 23-24, 2022, with another concert to be held on July 30-31.
Once I tuned in, I was transported into “The Virtual”, where BLACKPINK performed their best hits and debuted their new song, “Ready For Love”.
Getting a free pass
This is the second time BLACKPINK is collaborating with the famous battle royale mobile game. In 2020, the K-pop group’s “How You Like That” had been used for the game’s lobby music.
PUBGM players were prompted to download their free tickets in-game starting July 15, and preload the Concert Resource Pack the very next day, which is a plugin required to watch the concert.
An inexperienced gamer myself, I had some trouble figuring out where and how to download the plugins.
Clicking into all the tabs featured in PUBGM’s lobby, I eventually stumbled across the “Events” page that had The Virtual featured.
After going into the concert’s link, I could grab my free VIP ticket and choose one of two designs I preferred (kind of like choosing the design on your Starbucks card).
It’s worth noting that the randomly generated ticket, despite being marked with “VIP” or “VVIP” stamps, does not affect the concert-watching experience.
A few days before the concert happened on July 22, I could also “cheer” for BLACKPINK using in-game items, and view as other players shared their excitement in the chatbox on The Virtual’s page.
There were also special rewards to be won every day, from just logging in to the game, or completing some themed challenges (which I won none of).
Count down to the concert
On the morning of the event, The Virtual page in PUBGM had a timer ticking down the hours to when players could enter the concert.
Not wanting to miss it, I set a timer on my own phone to be on standby, since it does take PUBGM a few moments to load up when opening the app.
Much like entering a classic PUBG battle, I entered The Virtual as soon as the clock struck 1PM Malaysian time.
I was transported into a dark lobby with other players’ avatars dressed in performance suits BLACKPINK would be wearing during their performance. These outfits are also available until August 31 for players to wear on the battlefield.
Running my avatar closer to the “stage”, I was once again teleported to another place where the intro for “Ddu-du Ddu-du” started. Avatars of Jennie, Lisa, Jisoo, and Rosé magically appeared on stage to begin their performance.
Players watching the show could cheer and dance to the music.
Injecting some interactivity
I’ll admit that watching the concert as a PUBG avatar was a little underwhelming at first. There were limited functions for concert-goers to “dance” and “cheer” while the giant avatars of BLACKPINK’s members (about 10x the size of mine) performed on stage.
For the group’s second song, “Kill This Love”, all concert-goers were wrapped in what looked like bubbles, floating around in space while watching the performance.
After the second song ended, I and all of the other players tuning in at the same time were once again flown to another location.
This time, there were more things to do than just watch the screen or have my character “jump around” to the music.
While BLACKPINK’s “How You Like That” played, my avatar was skating through a path to collect hearts (which I don’t think translates to anything useful in the real game).
Every now and then, icons pop up on the screen, prompting me to “tap to the beat”. It reminded me of a substandard version of Tap Tap Revenge as, A) the icons didn’t even sync to the beat in the first place, and B) they seemed to be appearing at random parts of the songs.
“Ready For Love” was the next, and final song performed. Instead of skating this time, my character was flying through space, passing by what felt like a stream of floating hearts.
This was a strange trip. I wasn’t even watching BLACKPINK performing by now since the stage was a little far away from where I was “flying” while the new song played in the background.
Overall, I was a little confused by the 10-minute virtual concert. I even went in two more times after the first round to make sure that what I watched wasn’t some kind of a fluke that ended out of a dropped internet connection.
When I was watching behind-the-scenes content posted online, the real-life BLACKPINK didn’t seem to be aware of what was going on either.
Since this concert was virtual and pre-edited, you could watch it as many times as you want to during the available Malaysian times:
|Dates||July 23-24 and July 30-31, 2022|
|Time||1PM-3PM and 8.30PM-10.30PM|
Overall, here are my closing thoughts. There is some credit worth giving to the event in its attempt of making elements of the concert interactive. As wacky as it was, it was also fun.
Although, I do think that there should have been more thought put into the collectables you could earn in the concert to be used in-game, apart from BLACKPINK’s outfits.
Of course, this is PUBGM’s first-ever in-game concert, so there could be more improvement that comes with user feedback and experience, and if they ever held another BLACKPINK virtual concert, you can bet I’d be there.