It's no secret that the Call of Duty franchise is one of the most popular games in the industry, thanks in part to the game's multiplayer aspect. As a result, the game is getting the eSports treatment, with various professional teams playing tournaments and winning money. However, Activision, the game's publisher, believes that the best is yet to come, and so a new league for Call of Duty eSports will start next year: the Call of Duty World League.
The new league will incorporate two divisions: Pro and Challenge. Pro contains the full-time, professional teams, which will compete throughout the regular season for cash prizes in regional matches in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
However, the company also wants to give the amateur player a shot for the top spot as well, and the Challenge division is the best place to make a winning run. If you're not a part of one of the top professional teams, this will be the only way to have a chance at making a name for yourself in the Call of Duty competitive scene. Instead of regional matches, however, the Challenge division is played out through official LAN events.
The Pro division season starts in January 2016. There is no official start date yet for those on the Challenge side, but seeing as the league starts on the launch day of Call of Duty: Black Ops III, the start date isn't too far away.
The winner of each side will then meet in the fall of 2016 to compete in the Call of Duty Championship. The event used to occur every spring, but it was moved to the fall to give players more time to brush up on their skills before the big tournament. All in all, the total prize money from the championship, regional events and LAN matches adds up to more than $3 million.
The prize money is lucrative enough, but Activision might be onto something with a unified eSports league. With games like Dota 2, League of Legends, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive gaining eSports popularity on the PC, Call of Duty has the potential to draw in big crowds like the aforementioned titles due to its popularity on the console platform. By providing more exposure to its competitive side, as well as allowing amateurs and not just professional teams a shot at a big title, the company can attract more players to the eSports scene, as well as sponsors and broadcasters, which should give the league a much-needed financial boost in the future.