In case, you thought that “Extreme Sports” events were lacking in full throttle digital battlefields, ESPN and X Games Aspen have delivered; a Halo 5: Guardians tournament will be featured at this year’s X games. That’s pretty XTREME!
— X Games (@XGames) January 14, 2016
ESPN and X Games Aspen are working closely with Xbox to bring Halo 5 to the extreme sports competition (1/28 – 1/31). This is the first time that Halo will be featured at the X games, even though it’s just another stop for the 2015/2016 Halo Championships. The teams will be participating in the Halo World Championship, yet the Aspen tournament won’t contribute points or alter placements in the regional finals for said tournament.
The news of Halo 5: Guardians being an event at this year’s X Games comes nipping at the heels of some other important news: ESPN is launching their own Esports division at ESPN.com. According to ESPN
In its first week, content will include video, news on the current and future state of esports, offseason grades that look back on the past season of multiple league championships from around the world and profiles on gamers who have influenced the meteoric rise of esports.
Bonnie Ross, Microsoft CVP and head of 343 Industries is excited about the aforementioned deal, saying
We are committed to the long-term growth of Halo esports through world-class events and the expansion of viewership around the globe. There is no one better than X Games and ESPN to team up with for the Halo World Championship Tour, and we’re excited to see the best teams compete for gold this January at the X Games Aspen Invitational.
Theses are interesting developments to be sure, especially when you look at the statements made by John Skipper, the president over at ESPN, over a year ago at Re/code about esports and ESPN:
“When asked to comment on Amazon’s $1 billion deal to buy video game streaming site Twitch, ESPN President John Skipper didn’t mince words when it came to offering his appraisal of the form of entertainment dubbed ‘eSports.’ ‘It’s not a sport — it’s a competition. Chess is a competition. Checkers is a competition.’ ”
How quickly the tune changes when real money can be made…
Is this just a merciless attempt at gaining more ad revenue through the seemingly bottomless pockets of gamers? Let us know what you think about ESPN, the X Games, and the Esports hash of 2016 in the comments below.