Activision Blizzard is currently looking to make some major overhaul changes to their online tournament setup with the launch of their latest title, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, hitting shelves last week. In their big announcement, Activision is looking to discontinue their current online Call of Duty World League and launch a brand new offline league in the spring of 2017.
The new tentative plans were revealed through a conference called held last week with many of Activision’s World League participants. Instead of the current online league setup, Activision told teams it would like to run two concurrent offline events next year – a winter and spring split – with teams earning circuit points based on their placement at the end of the split.
In addition to taking their league offline, Activision also proposed a new event for this offline tourney. Dubbed the “Global Super Bowl”, this offline league would consist of 16 teams. Ten teams would come directly from North America, five teams from Europe, and one qualifier team from Australia/New Zealand). These 16 teams would be determined by their circuit points and will battle it out at the MLG Arena in Columbus, Ohio to determine a winner.
The announcement comes nearly ten months after Activision made an aggressive move in the eSports industry by purchasing the rights to Major League Gaming (MLG). The acquisition expands Activision Blizzard’s reach across the rapidly-growing esports ecosystem by adding proven live streaming capabilities and technologies to the Activision Blizzard Media Networks division, led by former ESPN CEO Steve Bornstein and MLG co-founder Mike Sepso.
Activision also told any participating teams that they will help with the additional costs of hosting an offline league that would inevitably occur. For starters, teams will need to relocate to the area where these Local Area Network (LAN) tournaments will occur. Housing costs will also need to be covered, something Activision said they will help with as well.
Between the winter and spring split, teams will have an open window for approved roster changes and player transfers.
There are other issues that must first be ironed out. For starters, Activision will need to provide further insight into how they will approach potential visa issues (a problem League of Legends and DOTA 2 deal with on a regular basis). Traditionally, since December 2013, eSports athletes wanting to compete in the United States regularly have applied and obtained P-1A internationally recognized athletes visas.
The current plans to create a LAN tournament would mirror the same concept that popular MOBA producers, like League of Legends and DOTA 2, have already developed and implemented. These changes would also make the need for the PlayStation Network mute, an issue that Call of Duty World League has had with multiple crashes, delays, and cancellations due to the necessity to be connected.
Activision has continued to push their competitive eSports agenda over the past two months. The news of a potential offline Call of Duty league follows right on the heels of a new Heroes of the Storm League set to launch next month.