I’m not the biggest fan of EA Sports. I don’t typically enjoy sports video games in general, as I prefer many other genres and publishers and find them more worth my time. But while I don’t enjoy sports games, I do enjoy eSports. A lot. And this year, EA has done something to please me not as an EA fan, but as an eSports fan, and in a very crucial way. EA, for the first time in years, has my gratitude for their work.
So what exactly has EA done for us? At their press conference on June 12th they snuck in a little thing called the EA Competitive Gaming Division. This is EA’s new initiative to support the competitive scenes of their own games, namely FIFA, Madden, and Battlefield for the time being. Those familiar with the eSports scene may know that this is not the first publisher to do something similar to this. Activision, Blizzard, Capcom, and even Nintendo have promoted and supported the tournament scene around some of their own games. However, what EA is doing, or plans to do, is a bit different by being wider in scope.
The competitive tournament support they announced seems to be more structured than that of the others. EA has given three tiers of competitive play: Challenger, Premier, and EA Major. Each of these levels represents a different level of tournament, with EA Major being the largest. Primarily, I’m concerned with Challenger and Premier levels. We all know that the major publishers are capable of hosting major tournaments because they have the resources needed, but by supporting the tournament structure from the ground up, EA helps pave the road from small local tournaments all the way to the center stage competitions. It’s not exactly easy to start hosting tournaments from nothing when just working with a small community, but it’s a lot more feasible when EA is willing to lend its support and help these communities get off the ground.
This was what pleased me the most about EA’s announcement, even if I don’t play any of their games or even plan on watching their eSports specifically (except for some Battlefield, maybe). Their work simply stands as a positive and productive push for the eSports movement, and I would love to see other publishers take this kind of initiative to support their games on smaller scales to help reach more players. With that said, I think eSports is finding a more reliable track to a steady future. What other kinds of support do you think eSports needs? Let us know here or on Twitter. Thank you for reading.