Microsoft Stores are forming a partnership with ASUS and HyperX to bring weekly League of Legends tournaments to their stores.
In an undertaking of unprecedented size for eSports, gamers will have the opportunity to participate in local events, invited to compete with a premade team or form one with other players.
The weekly League of Legends tournaments will be a first for the popular title that has attracted over 100 million monthly users. Riot Games has sponsored tournaments in the past through scattered local events or online through multiple sites, but their partnership with the Microsoft Stores will bring an opportunity to fans to get a feel for a live competitive event in a way they never have before.
In a model that can be loosely tied to Magic: The Gathering’s Friday Night Magic events, fans will have the opportunity to connect with other local summoners and compete for prizes that include the rare “Triumphant Ryze” skin.
Importantly, these events should help to tie League of Legends to communities in a way that continues to solidify the player base and increases exposure for both the game and eSports.
Unlike traditional sports, where there are abundant local events for players and fans alike to partake in, eSports has dramatically lower visibility in the community.
These events are another step in helping eSports’ transition into the mainstream and promoting awareness and legitimacy for what is a rapidly growing industry.
After one week of the event, it is clear there will be some growing pains associated with the events as the Microsoft stores and their employees learn the best ways to host them.
Problems regarding playing space for players, voice communication, and even stores closing before the tournaments have been completed are issues that have already arisen and will need to be ironed out.
Although these events are clearly far from a perfect system, the tournaments hosted at Microsoft Stores around the globe are the next step in eSports’ progression towards having the same presence in local communities as traditional sports.
With a massive player base behind titles such as League of Legends, it is clear these events are only the beginning.