Is it time to take eSport seriously yet?
The A-List Daily reports that Sony Online Entertainment has announced a new partnership with Major League Gaming (MLG) and plans to take a “careful approach” into tournament play starting with free-to-play shooter Planetside 2.
Sony made the announcement at a live event, the Ultimate Empire Showdown, which tasked YouTube stars SeaNanners, TotalBiscuit, and LevelCap with building team in each of Planetside 2’s three empires. Adrianne Curry and Jace Hall hosted the matches. Playing the Terran Republic forces in the showdown, TotalBiscuit lead his team to victory.
Clearly, Sony wanted to make a big splash in an emerging market, and it drew on Internet-familiar faces to get its message across. “One day I get a phone call, the next day my head’s being printed on posters,” said LevelCap.
But according to SOE President John Smedley, Sony has “a long-term roadmap” when it comes to eSports. “We’re going to be bringing Planetside 2 into the eSports universe in a very phased and controlled way that’s going to let us showcase the things that are best about Planetside 2,” he said.
With Activision also gearing Call of Duty towards eSports — and offering big tournament purses — it seems like it’s only a matter of time before Microsoft responds to this challenge.