eSports are truly becoming a big deal in 2015, between this week’s The International tournament in Seattle (which boasts an incredible $18 million in prizes) and Microsoft’s just-announced Halo 5: Guardians Championship Series, indicating just how serious the publisher is about its forthcoming sequel.
But Activision has been a player in the eSports game for some time. As noted on the official Call of Duty eSports page, the publisher has proudly supported the format with a number of features, including social sharing of game sessions and yearly tournaments that draw a tremendous audience – as well as viable sponsors and online viewership. Even last year’s Advanced Warfare made a considerable dent on the eSports scene, paving the way for better things to come.
And it doesn’t look like things are going to stop anytime soon. The publisher hosted a live Twitch session this morning from Gamescom, explaining all the vital changes that will be made with its forthcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops III that will cater to the devoted eSports players. That doesn’t mean casual players will be shut out – not by any means. But it shows that the company is getting serious about what its series means to the eSports community – and it could mean bigger things for the next Call of Duty championship, which is sure to come in 2016. (It’s been going three years strong with great success.)
The CODCaster, for instance, will have enhanced features that make both the spectator and shoutcaster modes within easier for players to broadcast to their fans. In addition, a new “Ban and Protect System” is being put into place, enabling players to pick an item to “ban” or “protect” before each match. These tie in with Black Ops III‘s new Specialist abilities, as well as particular items. Specialist items will also be selected through the Specialist Draft system.
While this may sound like gaming jargon to normal ears, eSports fans will no doubt be thrilled with the changes Treyarch (the developer of Black Ops III) and Activision are making to the game, so that they can get more into matches without being “spammed” by particular weapons or perks they find hard to overcome.
So what does this mean It indicates that yet another big player is becoming more invested in the world of eSports. Like Microsoft, Activision takes its franchises quite seriously, and seeing Call of Duty having a continuous presence in the eSports scene is crucial to its success, just as much as the outreach to casual audiences. It’s a game series that’s built for both levels – newcomers can come right in and learn the ropes, while advanced players can make the most of their loadouts and abilities to dominate each match handily.
And that’s what people like to see at the Call of Duty Championships held every year. This year’s tournament, which took place back in March, offered over $1 million in prizes for prospective teams, drawing players from all over the world to compete. It’s serious business – and it certainly pays off for Activision, as each new CoD game sells well into the millions.
We’ll see how Black Ops III shakes up the eSports world when it arrives on November 6th. The trailer is below.