Xbox Live Tournament Program Announced for Xbox One, PC
Microsoft is adding a new feature to Xbox Live. During a Game Developers Conference presentation today, Microsoft announced the Xbox Live Tournaments Program, which are tools that developers can use to create and run eSports tournaments on Xbox Live.
At the presentation, attended by The Verge, Xbox Advanced Technology Group head Jason Ronald said the new tournament program will have a range of customization options for developers to tailor to their liking.
The program will be offered on Xbox One and Windows 10, leveraging the Universal Windows Platform. "Xbox Live is the connective tissue between all of the devices in our ecosystem," Ronald said.
Microsoft is partnering with competitive gaming companies such as the Electronic Sports League and FaceIt for the new Xbox Live Tournaments Program.
"This partnership represents a revolutionary step for the evolution of eSports, by allowing developers and publishers to gain easy and automated access to live tournaments, as well as giving them the ability to organize the logistics and handling of such," the ESL said in its own statement to GameSpot.
ESL added that its internal technology team will work with game developers to help them get their titles ready for "tournament integration." There are multiple games currently in development now that will use the Xbox Live Tournaments Program, but these have not been announced.
Xbox program manager Joanna Mason said, "FaceIt's fan base and expertise will amplify the platform capabilities, provide better support for game developers, and help bring competitive gaming for all skill levels to the living room and on Windows 10 PC."
FaceIt CEO Niccolo Maisto went on to say that the arrival of the Xbox Live Tournaments Program marks a "monumental moment" for the future of competitive gaming.
"With the new Xbox Live Tournaments Platform, Microsoft is embracing eSports and enabling gamers to experience the fun and excitement that competitive gaming has to offer," Maisto said.
Beyond ESL and FaceIt, Ronald teased that Microsoft will announce partnerships with other companies "soon."
This isn't Microsoft's first stab at eSports, as the company already runs the Halo World Championships. Across the industry overall, the eSports scene is on the rise. Activision and Electronic Arts have formed eSports divisions, while ESPN and Yahoo! have created their own eSports platforms.
We will have more details on Microsoft's Xbox Live Tournament Program as they are made available.