Microsoft's support for Halo 5: Guardians professional play won't end with the recently concluded Halo World Championship. The company has now revealed the Halo Championship Series: Pro League and laid out its overall ambitions for it. It's described by Halo franchise director Frank O'Connor as a "long-term partnership" between 343 Industries and the professional gaming group ESL to "grow, nurture, and evolve Halo eSports at every level of competition."
The initial focus for the Pro League will be on North America and Europe, though O'Connor said he hopes to expand to additional regions "in the not-too-distant future." There will be weekly tournaments, and the emphasis will be on professional play. But there will also be a Challenger League that anyone can participate in. It's called the Challenger League because participants will be able to challenge professional teams and possibly steal their spot in the Pro League. O'Connor went on to say that the Pro League forms the "framework and basis" for the next marquee Halo World Championship event. This year's Halo World Championship ended on Sunday evening, when CLG defeated Allegiance by a commanding 4-0 margin to win $1 million, the largest prize in the history of console gaming.
More details about the Pro League, including information about qualification and specific timing, will be announced in the future.
"For centuries, new sports have defied categorization but revolved around a single immutable principle: competition to see who is the best of the best," O'Connor said. "The ancient Greeks had Olympics, the world tunes in every four years to watch soccer in the most viewed contest on Earth, and at a more granular level, schools, communities, and individuals compete for bragging rights in everything from baseball to darts.
"No surprise then, that video games followed suit. And no surprise that we want Halo to be at the heart of that movement. The HCS Pro League is a big step for us, and we hope you'll join us in the coming months for some of the most intense, exciting, and skilled video gameplay you've ever seen. We just can't wait."