The Electronic Sports League (ESL) partnered up with Gears of War’s custodians The Coalition to create two eSports programs for Gears of War: Ultimate Edition – the Gears of War Pro League by ESL and the Gears of War Open Series by ESL, both presented by Xbox.
Twitch, the live streaming video platform owned by Amazon, also joined in and helped make viewing the widely popular game even easier.
A third-person shooter on the rise
Gears of War, the military science fiction third-person shooter video game franchise developed by Epic Games and now owned by Microsoft Studios, released the Gears of War: Ultimate Edition on August 25, 2015. The beta version of the game celebrated a huge success.
According to Microsoft, the Gears of War series has sold over 22 million units and earned over $1 billion (USD) in revenue as of January 2014.
Entering the growing world of eSports
eSports are growing rapidly in regards to both available funds and viewership. The competitive scene is bigger than ever – ESL has more than 5 million registered members and consists of over one million teams that have played over 22.5 million games.
According to Rahal Sood, CEO of Unikrn, a leading company offering betting services in the eSports industry, eSports could be as big as American Football within two years.
“The amount of people who watch eSports is about the same amount of people who watch the NHL hockey. By 2017 we believe it will be as big as the NFL,” said Sood.
Among the shooters
Gears of War, once more popular than Call of Duty, quickly dropped its short-lived presence in the eSports universe in the past.
Part of the reason was the failure of Epic – the game’s initial developer – to address feedback from a competitive audience which, having lived and breathed Gears, understood the game’s most entertaining qualities.
Rob Ferguson, the studio head of The Coalition, said that they have rebuilt the game, recreating and updating almost all of the original game’s art assets from scratch. It is supposed to be an attempt to strike a smart balance between a faithful recreation of Gears of War and a game appropriate for the expectations of modern players, Gears-faithful or otherwise.
The future looks promising
Even though there are some obstacles on the way for betting companies, the industry is still fairly young and didn’t even exist until earlier this year.
It went from almost nothing to a couple of websites that are giving out millions in prize money this year; and, according to current outlooks, the future for the industry looks bright.