Activision is creating a new Call of Duty eSports league in 2016 that will bring a $3 million prize pool and provide amateurs a path to next fall's Championship.
A press release from publisher Activision explains the structure of the upcoming Call of Duty World League. Competitors participate in one of two divisions, the Pro and the Challenge Division, which will take them to the Call of Duty Championship.
These separate branches of the World League are meant to accommodate both seasoned competitive Call of Duty players and those who are just starting out. Professional teams from across the Western hemisphere can participate in Pro Division matches throughout the year, beginning this coming January, in the hopes of making it to the final championship round.
Newer players have the option of developing their skills in the Challenge Division. After taking part in official LAN events, winning teams can also earn a spot in the Call of Duty Championship, which will be moved from the spring to the fall in 2016.
Across the various competition events, over $3 million will be offered in prize money. This will be "the biggest total prize pool for Call of Duty eSports, and more than triple the previous prizing," according to the press release.
Call of Duty has been a huge name on the eSports circuit for the last three years, when the Call of Duty Championship began, explained Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg. "Since then," he said in the announcement, "eSports has become a global phenomenon ... and Call of Duty continues to lead as the top console eSports franchise in the world."
More information about broadcasting and partnership plans for the World League are expected later this year. For now, interested players can gear up by heading to the series' official eSports page and eSports-centric Twitter account.
This announcement comes in anticipation of the next entry in the first-person shooter franchise, Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. Launching Nov. 6 for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, the game will be the centerpiece of the series' increased eSports emphasis. Treyarch, the developer behind Black Ops 3, promises to have "revolutionized" the multiplayer campaign in its next installment.
The game most recently showed off its new multiplayer features in a beta. Gamers across each of the current generation consoles had the chance to test the game out for a short period in August.