In just a few years, eSports has gone from an obscure profession for a handful of gamers to a worldwide sensation. Thanks to PC games like League of Legends, Starcraft 2 and Dota 2, eSports continues to grow in popularity, with sponsorships and prize money reaching into the millions of dollars.
In an effort to capitalize on the growing eSports trend, 343 Industries announced in November that they would be conducting a Halo Championship Series in conjunction with the release of the Halo Master Chief Collection. Unfortunately, due to some issues with the game’s release, the event was pushed back, but was still able to launch in late November.
As this is the first championship series of it’s kind for 343 Industries – they are planning to continue the event for many years to come – the developer has been seeking feedback from players and spectators about the series. One of the biggest requests has been to increase the amount of money players can receive in the event. As it turns out, the request did not fall on deaf ears, as 343 Industries announced on the Halo website that they are doubling the prize money for the Season 1 Finals from $50,000 to $100,000. 343 Industries Franchise Media Director Che Chou offered an explanation for the increase.
"One of the most important pieces of feedback we’ve heard is that all players – from amateur to top teams – simply want more opportunities to compete and earn more money in the HCS. We greatly understand, not only the importance of regulated prize pools that appropriately reward top competitors, but also the growth of the HCS year over year."
While the increase doesn’t nearly match Dota 2’s International Tournament grand prize of $2 million, it’s a strong start for the series. And when we consider that any gamer can participate in the series, it’s definitely a move in the right direction for console gaming tournaments, especially after Virgin Gaming’s failed Battlefield 3 tournament in 2013. The Virgin Gaming tournament, which was supposed to award players with $1.6 million in prizes, was inexplicably cancelled, leaving a sour taste in the mouth of many console gamers about online tournaments. Hopefully, the Halo Championship Series can help reconcile that botched opportunity.
The Halo Championship Series Season 1 Finals are set to take place at PAX East in Boston on March 6-8. The tournament prize values have been updated to the following:
- First place: $50,000
- Second place: $20,000
- Third place: $10,000
- Fourth place: $8,000
- Fifth/sixth place: $4,000 each
- Seventh/eighth place: $2,000 each
While the shadow of Halo: The Master Chief Collection's matchmaking flaws may still hang over the franchise, it appears Microsoft is doing all they can to improve the brand's standing among gamers. We'd argue that the best way to fix things is to ensure the Master Chief Collection works as intended, but throwing a little extra money at top players can't hurt either.
Have you been participating in the Halo Championship Series? What would you like to see change for Season 2? Share your feedback in the comments.