Activision, publishers of the perennial Call of Duty franchise, today announced they are forming a standardised global league for eSports competition.
The news comes ahead of Black Ops III’s November 6 launch, and details eSports-friendly features to be included in the upcoming title, such as spectator mode ‘CODcasting’ and built-in League Play.
The Call of Duty: World League aims to ‘bring competitive Call of Duty to new audiences and long-time fans alike’ and will consist of regional and international competitions year-round.
As well as catering to the current professional scene, the World League will also offer amateurs a chance to compete, and earn spots at the eventual World Championship (moved from Spring to Fall) with a tripled yearly prize pool of $3m.
The league will be made up of Pro and Challenger divisions, similar to Riot’s LCS and Hi-Rez’s Smite Pro League, as well as broken into three major regions: North America, Europe and Australia.
When the league launches in January 2016, it is unclear if current tournament organisers will be allowed to continue operation, or if Activision will retain sole control over the eSports scene.
Communications Manager Scott Lowe stated in the announcement that further details will follow regarding ‘broadcast plans, our new eSports team, and other partners’ in the coming months.
This is a sign of a much-needed revival for CoD’s languishing eSports scene which has suffered from low viewership over the past year, despite being a pioneer of console competitive gaming along with Halo.
Last month’s viewer figures for Twitch streaming leave the franchise’s latest competitive title Advanced Warfare in 22nd place with a max concurrent of 18,012 viewers and average of 3,902.
This leaves spectator interest behind Diablo 3 (max 41,782) and non-competitive streams of the Black Ops 3 beta in 11th (max 151,161).