Today, Activision revealed plans to further incentivize participation in its Call of Duty World League (CWL) by adding $6M in prize pools (around $2M more than last year) for its 2019 season. With Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 already looking like the next big thing among hardcore FPS players, the investment doesn't come as too much of a surprise to those following the industry and Activision's esports aspirations.
However, the company has yet to announce any plans to support a competitive setting for its Battle Royale mode. So far, the only sighting of competitive Battle Royale support by Developer Treyarch is a Doritos Bowl tournament at TwitchCon 2019 (in October) headlined by gaming celebrities like Ninja, Courage, DrLupo, and Shroud.
Battle Royale for fun.
The decision to re-invigorate (and update) its standard squad based esport and place Call of Duty's new Battle Royale mode as a fan spectacle with top streamers appears in line with Fortnite's "for fun" esports plans. Back in June, when Epic, Fortnite's Developer, announced its whopping $100M esports budget, they made mentioned just having fun was a big part of the plan:
"We’ll be supporting community organized events, online events, and major organized competitions all over the world, where anyone can participate, and anyone can win...whether you’re in the competition or watching at home, we want this to be fun for everyone"
Perhaps Treyarch has a similar mindset regarding Battle Royale esports and its viability as a serious esport. While no current Battle Royale game stands a chance at overcoming Fortnite's culture-defining popularity, Call of Duty's new Battle Royale mode is truly extraordinary. It strikes a different tone than Fortnite and appeals to a more mature sensibility as opposed to Fortnite's infamous popularity with young children.
Call of Duty's Battle Royale mode has even won over DrDisRespect, one of the most influential and popular figures in the Battle Royale community:
The streaming giant's public adoration of the game is all over his stream and Twitter feed and, to be fair, it seems genuine. Compared to often sloppy hit detection of PUBG, Call of Duty's Battle Royale is a polished product.
The CWL starts February 2019 and features 12-weeks of pllay between two divisions. The Pro League is supported by an amateur circuit also launching in 2019.
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