DOTA 2, CS: GO and League of Legends. These are the three titans of eSports. Other games also have dedicated eSports followings such as SMITE and Hearthstone. As developers create their latest multiplayer-oriented games, many are dead-set on trying to form their own competitive followings.
The Coalition wants a piece of the eSports pie, and they are offering up big money to excite the dedicated and hardcore Gears of War fans out there. Today, Xbox and The Coalition revealed their push into eSports with Gears of War 4.
$1 million. 8 events. 6 as part of an international circuit making stops at London, Las Vegas, Mexico City and more. The shotgun-shooting, wall-bouncing action kicks off with a MLG-hosted event in Columbus on November 25th. More than 108 teams will compete for $250,000.
One month later, the action jumps across the Atlantic to London at a Gfinity event.
Players worldwide can earn “Gears Pro Points” by competing in regional MLG GameBattles online ladders and in daily and weekly tournaments. Gears Pro Points qualify players for the international circuit open LAN events that take place every 1-2 months from the Gears of War 4 game launch in October 2016 to July 2017. The Gears Pro Circuit features more international crossplay and competition than ever before in Gears of War history as top teams from North America, Europe, Latin America, and Oceania will qualify via Gears Pro Points to be flown around the world to compete against each other at these events. Teams that don’t qualify for the top travel spots will still be able to compete at local events or any international event of their choosing.
Two teams of five will face off in Gears of War 4’s new Escalation competitive mode.
Gears of War 4’s prize pool is only going higher
$1 million is just the start according to Jack Felling, an eSports Producer at The Coalition. We often see developers giving fans the opportunity to increase prize pools via microtransactions.
Valve popularized this approach with The International tournament on DOTA 2. 343 Industries did the same with Halo 5: Guardians. And, The Coalition jumps on board with purchases of cosmetic content helping out Gears eSports. That’s not all.
The Coalition’s support for Gears eSports isn’t for just the headline events every 1-2 months. They want to support events all the way down to the local level. The FGC (fighting game community) excels at this. It’ll be interesting to see The Coalition’s approach and how much support they end up offering.
Can Gears eSports be a success?
It’s the question we all ask anytime a new game is trying to make a push into the competitive side of gaming. Fortunately for Gears, there’s been a competitive presence throughout the franchise. Now, it’s not about to start doing CS: GO numbers. And The Coalition knows this.
eSports is the long game. Its benefits are two-fold. Advertisement. And more importantly, player engagement.
Player engagement (on the competitive side) is one of the toughest areas for console games. Here’s the problem. Just look at the top PC eSports games. DOTA 2, League of Legends, SMITE, CS: GO, Hearthstone, etc. None of those games are going to see a new entry anytime soon.
But consoles? There’s a new Call of Duty every year. Halo every two years or so. There’s no room for the competitive side to grow. By the time it’s starting to hit its stride, a new game is being announced. That’s going to be The Coalition’s biggest challenge. Keeping player engagement high while also inevitably working on the next game.
What do you think of The Coalition’s approach to eSports for Gears of War 4?