From the far future world of Halo, to the historic World of Tanks, eSports are revving up for intense competition. These are some of the big games to keep an eye on in the coming weeks as spring warms up.
Halo World Championship
Today marks the start of the Halo World Championship, where 16 international teams (reduced from 900) go head-to-head to win a $1 million cash prize, which Microsoft boasts as “the biggest individual prize in console eSports history.” The tournament concludes on Sunday, March 20th. In the meantime, fans who don’t own the game yet can purchase Halo 5: Guardians and the Limited Edition at a 50 percent discount this weekend to get in on some action themselves.
The Halo World Championship comes days after Microsoft announced the Xbox Live Tournaments Platform, which gives developers tools that enable players to set up small-scale tournaments for their favorite Xbox One and PC games. Perhaps, with this feature, the next championship will see even more players than the 4,000 that registered for this year.
Rainbow Six Siege Pro League
While the Halo Championship reaches its conclusion this weekend, others are heating up. The Rainbow Six Siege Pro League, where teams face-off in Attackers vs. Defenders style matches, has competitors vying for $100,000 grand prizes in separate PC and Xbox One leagues in North America and Europe. We’re only two weeks into the seven week of playoff schedule, with the top two teams in each division (and region) eventually going on to the finals, so this is a great time to tune in and get caught up.
Heroes of the Dorm
The old adage that studies, and not video games, get you through college may be coming to an end. The Heroes of the Dorm tournament, a collegiate Heroes of the Storm competition, is now in its second season, with competitors from all across the U.S. and Canada. Credited as the first eSport to be broadcast live over ESPN 2, 64 college teams are battling in bracket tournaments starting tomorrow in the hopes of becoming one of the “Heroic Four” on April 3rd. Those top teams will battle it out for two days starting April 9th at the CenturyLink Field Event Center in Seattle, Washington in an epic championship that will be again be telecast over ESPN 2. The winning team earns big money to pay for their college tuition. So, study hard and play harder.
Smite Pro League
It’s hard to believe that Smite, the game where deities from different pantheons battle in 5v5 competition, only hit the scene two years ago today, yet has made a considerable eSports impression. Its console league qualifiers start this weekend, and with the Pro League beginning on March 24. The game is getting some considerable upgrades this season, with new characters, updated maps and more strategies.
In February, Hi-Rez Studios announced that Smite will be coming to PlayStation 4, with a Closed Alpha going on right now. The game’s 2016 World Championship included leagues for two separate platforms, with a $1,000,000 prize for the PC World Championship and $150,000 for the Xbox One Invitational. Perhaps, in the future, we can expect a PS4 league for one massive, god-like, championship.
The Grand Finals (World of Tanks)
World of Tanks continues its eSports blitz with The Grand Finals taking place in Warsaw, Poland from April 8-9. Twelve teams will try to blast each other to scrap in an effort to win part of a $300,000 prize pool. Attendees can also get in on some the action, with playable stations where pro players offer expert tips, and headsets to experience World of Tanks in virtual reality.
Rocket League Championship Series
Psyonix and Twitch have partnered to launch the official Rocket League Championship Series, with registration starting on March 25th. PC and PlayStation 4 players can face-off against each other to win a prize pool of $75,000. Rocket League recently released on Xbox One, which means the platform might not have a chance to participate this season. But there’s a lot of potential in the future, especially if Sony agrees to allow cross-network play, creating a milestone in both eSports and video game history. Always go for the goal.