Call of Duty ramps up eSports plans with $1m tournament

Activision says it is about to ‘forever change the face of eSports’ with a new Call of Duty competition

Call of Duty: Black Ops II is bidding to become a major player in the eSports scene, which is currently dominated by games like StarCraft II and League of Legends. And a special championship will take place in Hollywood in April, with $1m up for grabs.

Last year’s title was built with eSports players in mind, with a new multiplayer system, live streaming capabilities and even the ability to commentate on matches.

The new competition is run in collaboration with two of the biggest players in eSports: Major League Gaming and Electronic Sports League, and will be live-streamed to millions.

Last year’s League of Legends final reached 900,000 people in the US via services such as Twitch TV. That is as more viewers than the Rugby World Cup. on NBC.

"More people play Call of Duty multiplayer every day than watch the average regular season game of the NBA," said Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg.

"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.

"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. And we are going to invite our entire worldwide fan base to join in the fun."

Players can register to enter the tournament online and have a chance to go to Hollywood by competing in a February season of League Play. The Top eight can then vie for the big prize.

Other entries into the finals will be teams competing in the MLG 2013 Pro Circuit and the ESL European finals.

It’s an absolute honour 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.”

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