Taiwanese hardware giant MSI has revealed plans to host $75,000 global Overwatch tournament spanning Europe, Asia and the Americas. The Master Gaming Arena 2016 Championship Presented by MSI represents not only their first steps in to Overwatch, but also their biggest eSports prize pool to date; surpassing the $51,285 on offer from Dota2 in MSI Beat IT 2014.
Registration is already live and open to all for the pancontinental tournament which will utilise a series of regional online qualifiers during October to produce eight teams per region who will then contest the right to represent their region at the Grand Final to be held in London at the Gfinity Arena in December.
Interestingly the three teams who qualify for the Grand Final will also be joined by "one MSI sponsored team" which seems to slightly go against the competitive spirit of eSports, but I guess when you are throwing the party you can invite anyone you want. A quick glance at the at MSI's list of gaming teams immediately throws up two big names in competitive Overwatch, Cloud9 and Fnatic - not the end of the world? How about ahq e-Sports Club or k1ck eSports Club?!
One can only assume they will invite the "biggest" of their sponsored teams that fails to qualify directly, and with only one spot available per region and my western bias I would hazard a guess that we will definitely see Cloud9 or Fnatic in London. Travel and accommodation expenses are to be covered for the four finalists meaning the $75,000 will be all profit – here is how it breaks down:
- 1st: $40,000
- 2nd: $20,000
- 3rd: $10,000
- 4th: $5,000
Since the announcement it has been suggested that the tournament organisers had originally proposed a $250,000 prize pool, but Blizzard told them to make it $75,000, fuelling further speculation about Blizzard's own plans for Overwatch eSports post-Blizzcon. Big plans for Blizzard in 2017 are all well good, but what amounts 70% pay cut for the top four pro teams in December means there might be a few less Lambo's sold in 2016.
Although some key details such what qualifies a team to play for a region or what will happen if a new hero is released or, I don't know, the rules in general are not yet available, we do have the keys dates for you to pencil down in your Filofax.
- Americas, Europe & Asia – September 5-27 08:59:59 (PDT) / 16:59:59 (BST) / 23:59:59 (CST)
Regional Online Qualifiers
- Americas – October, 4-5 (Tuesday & Wednesday), 18:00 - 23:00 (PDT)
- Europe – October, 7-8 (Friday & Saturday), 18:00 - 23:00 (BST)
- Asia – October, 10-11 (Monday & Tuesday), 18:00 - 23:00 (CST)
- Americas – October, 14-15 (Friday & Saturday), 18:00 - 23:00 (PDT)
- Europe – October, 17-18 (Monday & Tuesday), 18:00 - 23:00 (BST)
- Asia – October, 20-21 (Thursday & Friday), 18:00 - 23:00 (CST)
- London, United Kingdom – December, 7-8 (Wednesday & Thursday), 18:00 - 23:00 (GMT)