This past weekend was the showcase event in the Halo Championship Series, a tournament that has been ongoing for many months and culminating in a $2.5 Million prize pool (the largest prize pool in console e-sports history). After numerous qualifying rounds and regional championships, the global stage was set with 16 teams facing off for the big prize. In the end, two North American teams (Counter Logic Gaming and Team Allegiance) competed for first. Sweeping the final round in four straight matches, CLG showed that they were the top talents in Halo e-sports, and with it they took home the trophy and $1 Million. Team Allegiance took home $500 000 for coming in second, and the third and fourth placed teams each took home $250 000.
The gaming on display was thrilling in a way that Halo E-sports has not been in years. There had been successive drop-offs with each iteration of Halo starting with Reach. Absent of loadouts, Halo 5’s focus on competitive team-based multiplayer brought back an honesty to the game-types that seemed missing in the past few years. Equal starts has proven to be the ultimate form of competitive Halo.
Since the rise of Twitch, Halo had long-lost its position as a top game in competitive multiplayer, yet with nearly 100,000 unique viewers (the count had totalled over 98,000 at one point) watching Halo’s main Twitch channel, it seemed as if Halo’s position in competitive FPS was safely on the rise. Sure this is a long way away from League of Legend and DOTA numbers, but most impressive given the long-standing franchise’s recent malaise.
All in all it was a fascinating tournament to watch and has left me eager to follow Halo as it evolves into a prominent member of the e-sports scene in 2016. With the community funded 2.5 Million prize-pool, I can only hope that that same level of eagerness exists in promoting the e-sports community within the Halo universe, guaranteeing such a high level of tournament play for years to come.
Follow Tom on Twitter @thomaskagar