Evolve Labs announced the rollout of a new eSports arena called BlackFlag for the popular MOBA PC game, League of Legends. The new service allows competitive gamers to enter single matches against teams of similar skill levels (using the League of Legends Tournament API) for cash prizes.
Evolve’s flagship product is a social collaboration tool for PC gamers, with the company boasting nearly 2 million members, with over 250,000 of those members already playing League of Legends. It seems only natural that Evolve decided to branch out into an eSports arena service, starting with one of the world’s most popular PC games.
"BlackFlag is a passion project for the Evolve team and something we have wanted to do for a while," said Adam Sellke, founder and CEO of Evolve, in a press release. "Recently, we participated in a series of AMAs where the idea was embraced by an audience of gamers expressing an overwhelming interest in a competitive gaming service. So, we fast-tracked the idea and turned it into reality."
For a $5 entry fee (per team per match), teams of five can compete with other teams for cash prizes in a non-tournament setting, freeing gamers from hours of commitment and offering a simple “get paid if you win” model for professional and amateur gamers alike. This standalone service from Evolve will initially focus on League of Legends, but it will eventually be integrated into Evolve’s social collaboration platform and branch out into other multiplayer PC games.
BlackFlag will first be available for players over the age of 18 in 45 out of 50 states in the U.S. and all of Canada. Evolve also plans to roll out the eSport arena service globally wherever it is permitted by law.
BlackFlag seems to take the opposite approach to the recently announced Razer Arena for League of Legends; whereas Razer provides a tool for organizing large multi-team, multi-game tournaments, BlackFlag offers one-game matches with cash prizes, which may attract more casual and amateur players.
Evolve’s BlackFlag is available here, and for a limited time you can get a bonus $5 for enrolling in the service.
Update, 12/15/15, 11:10am PST: An earlier version of this article misstated the award structure. The $5 fee is per team, per match, and the prize money is awarded out of the entry fees.
Derek Forrest is an Associate Contributing Writer for Tom’s Hardware and Tom’s IT Pro. PC gaming, graphics hardware and VR devices are among his favorite topics to cover. He is a lifelong PC enthusiast, former IT administrator and a custom PC builder with a penchant for creating music, voice acting and all things geek.