Probably not hard to guess, but nonetheless news to us, Activision has announced a convenient partnership with Microsoft – via the Xbox brand – to host a Call of Duty eSports tournament. Called the Call of Duty Championship, this tournament is set to change competitive eSports forever (or for as long as Activision has access to the license).
The Championship, pitting 32 skilled teams against one another on the Xbox 360 version of Call of Duty: Black Ops II, will be hosted in Hollywood, California on April 5th to 7th. The entire event will be live-streamed to the public in a major broadcast.
“More people play Call of Duty multiplayer every day than watch the average regular season game of the NBA. The scale and passion of the Call of Duty fan base is simply humbling, and yet there is no formal way to find out who amongst those millions of players is the best of the best, until now,” said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing. “Watching the performances of the very best Call of Duty players is already a mass spectator sport on YouTube and Call of Duty Elite. We are going to bring the best players in the world to Hollywood to compete on the ultimate stage, for the ultimate prize.”
As it turns out, he was not kidding about it being the “ultimate prize” – $1 million goes to the winning team.
As of today, players seeking to compete can go to https://elite.callofduty.com/esports, and register for a free (though mandatory) Call of Duty Elite account. Once registered, players are grouped into teams of four and can then vie for entry into the tournament by competing in this season of League Play in Call of Duty: Black Ops II on Xbox LIVE. By the season’s end, the top eight eligible teams will earn coveted spots in the Championship.
“It’s an absolute honor to have players and fans celebrate the thrill of competition on such a grand stage,” said Mark Lamia, Treyarch studio head. “From the very beginning of development for Call of Duty: Black Ops II, we committed to making eSports an integral part of the game, and it’s going to be awesome to watch the best teams in the world battle it out for everyone to see.”
In addition, teams competing in the recently announced MLG 2013 Pro Circuit featuring Call of Duty: Black Ops II can have a chance to enter the tournament. At the MLG Winter Championship, on March 15th to 17th in Dallas, Texas, the top eight teams will earn trips to Hollywood to play against the best Call of Duty players in the world. Joining them will be eight winning teams from the ESL’s European Finals (http://cod.esl.eu) taking place March 16-17, in the famous ESL Arena live eSports Studios in Cologne, Germany.
As for any remaining seats in the 32-team Championship, these will be made available internationally across Asia, Australia, and Brazil, with exact qualification details to be revealed locally as they become available at https://elite.callofduty.com/esports.
For now, this tournament seems set to turn some heads. Hopefully, for good reasons.