The line between sports and esports is blurring even further, with video game publisher Electronic Arts implementing a new esports infrastructure and weekly competitions.
Known for games like the FIFA, Madden NFL, NBA Live, and NHL series among other sports-based titles and non-sports games, EA decided to branch further into the esports realm in December last year when it announced its new competitive gaming division. The publisher has been involved in esports for over a decade, with the first Madden challenge 14 years ago, and the first FIFA Interactive World Cup held in 2004.
Now, EA is trying to push its esports scene even further, announcing new competitive modes, weekly online contests, and three new ways to compete during its E3 conference today. This includes Challenger events, Premier events, and EA Major events.
“EA is no stranger to the power of elite competition,” said the company’s chief competition officer Peter Moore on the stage. “But the spectacle of esports barely scratches the surface of competition. It’s a select few that become pro gamers, that’s why EA is embracing a new approach to competitive gaming, we want to make stars of all of our players.”
It plans to do this primarily through the Challenger events, with Moore saying EA will give the community the ability to easily host and run their own tournaments. Although he didn’t expand on how exactly it is going to do this, or what these events will look like.
EA’s Premier series will involve large-scale live events that it will host with “partners from inside and outside of the gaming world.” Again, no specific details about this were given during the conference.
The last, and most elite, stage of competition is the EA Major events, which will be run by EA on a “global stage,” with “the best players competing for the biggest prizes.” The first Major event is running this weekend, at EA Play in Los Angeles with the Madden NFL ‘16 championship.
Besides the $1 million new Madden Championship Series, EA did not say which games will be included in this new esports structure and weekly competitions, but with competitive Battlefield taking off, chances are it won’t just be the sports-based titles.