Hearthstone esports isn't quite dead yet as Blizzard pulls out its trump card
Just $100 million set aside for professional Fortnite players and Hearthstone survives the big Blizzard esports cull.
Hearthstone esports will live to see another year (or few) with Blizzard announcing the new Master Tours program. Epic Games is not going to sit around and let Fortnite do all the leg work to develop an engaging esports scene. The company has put aside a massive amount of money for tournaments throughout 2019. More women are turning into live broadcasts, but it still isn't the push many would like to see to better balance out the genders.
Here's this week in esports.
Hearthstone esports is safe ... for now
Blizzard introduced a new esports system for Hearthstone, which will help put those at ease who thought the company would outright kill Heartstone esports. The aim of this new program is to make Hearthstone esports " more sustainable, entertaining, and accessible." In other words, very little is to be spent on running Hearthstone esports, while attempting to make as much from it as possible. Good ol' Activision.
Hearthstone Masters Tour (as it's called) will feature a $250,000 prize pool, allowing pretty much everyone to compete for a shot at the top. There are various ways to earn a place in the Masters Tour, including winning an online Masters qualifier, being placed in the top four of a ranked ladder qualifier, securing an invitation through tournaments, finishing well in a previous Masters Tour event, and finishing the Year of the Raven with at least 120 Hearthstone competitive points.
There's even the opportunity to become a Hearthstone Grandmaster, which requires you to finish in top spots at numerous Masters Tours. The new Hearthstone Masters Tour will kick off in Las Vegas, U.S. on June 14. After that Blizzard will take the tour to Asia and Europe. More destinations are planned for 2020.
Fortnite paying out to professional gamers
Epic Games confirmed details of the upcoming Fortnite World Cup, more specifically the $100 million prize pool for 2019. You read that correctly (and no, it's not a typo) ... $100 million prize pool. The game is that successful, Epic Games clearly has available funds to make quite the esports platform this year.
Top 100 players and 50 duo squads will be invited from across the globe to participate in the World Cup Finals in New York City on July 26. This event alone will sport a $30 million prize pool. Each player will be guaranteed to walk away with at least $50,000 with the champion taking a full $3 million.
$1 million weekly cash tournaments will continue through the end of 2019. More details on all events and tournaments for Fortnite this year will be released at later dates so stay tuned if you're interested and wish to showcase your skill to win some money. This news would tie into last week's prediction of esports bringing in more than $1 billion in revenue for 2019.
G2 continues to dominate the siege
European organization G2 Esports continues to be on a winning streak in Rainbow Six Siege, as reported by ESPN. The squad, made up of Fabian, Goga, jNSzki, Kantoraketti, Pengu, Shad0Udas, and Sua have been on form.
Taking down Team Empire from Russia in the finals, G2 Esports managed to score its second world tournament win. G2 Esports was awarded $800,000 out of the $2,000,000 total prize pool. Looking quite frankly unbeatable, it'll be interesting to see how the players take on opponents later in the year in the Pro League.
Women are watching more esports ... sorta
Interpret research firm based in Europe released some new data, showing more women engaged in esports than ever before. "More women need to be in esports" has been the line used by a select few, without looking at the data of how women enjoy esports and gaming as a whole. While more women are clearly watching esports, data suggests it's mainly due to the increase in mobile gaming.
Looking at the data provided, only 35 percent of those who enjoy games on console or PC — considered an esport — are female. 30 percent of women watch esports, while just 20 percent who follow esport leagues are women. Casual gaming (mostly on a smartphone) remains to be dominated by women, coming in at a whopping 66 percent. If they're not watching, you can't force them to.
It's good to get more people to enjoy watching and competing in esports, regardless of gender. The major issue we have with getting more women on the esports stage is making it into the necessary leagues to be picked up by scouts and organizations, and playing the right games. With so many women playing more casual titles like smartphone games, esports will need to adapt to cater to this audience if they truly wish to see more of a gender balance both on and off the stage.
Upcoming live events
- FACEIT PUBG Global Summit - April 19 - 21, watch on Twitch.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.