Grind - Half Pipe Drop - Black Ops II

Competitive gamers better sharpen their Black Ops II skills — $1 million is at stake in the Call of Duty Championship.

Today, publisher Activision announced a partnership with Microsoft to hold the Call of Duty Championship in Hollywood on April 5-7. This tournament brings together 32 of the world’s top teams from Major League Gaming, the Electronic Sports League, and Xbox Live to compete in multiplayer matches of Call of Duty: Black Ops II on Xbox 360.

“More people play Call of Duty multiplayer every day then watch the average regular season game of the NBA,” Activision Publishing chief executive officer Eric Hirshberg said in a statement. “The scale and passion of the Call of Duty fan base is simply humbling, and yet there is no formal way to find out who among those millions of players is the best of the best, until now. Watching the performances of the very best Call of Duty players is already a mass spectator sport on YouTube and Call of Duty Elite. We are going to bring the best players in the world to Hollywood to compete on the ultimate stage for the ultimate prize. And we are going to invite our entire worldwide fan base to join in the fun.”

If your team has what it takes to make the plot of The Wizard come true in your life, then go to to sign up. If you register with a team of four, head into the ranked League Play mode on Xbox Live to earn one of the last eight spots in the Hollywood tournament — the top eight eligible teams in the February season of League Play will get a chance to compete in the Call of Duty Championship.

“It’s an absolute honor to have players and fans celebrate the thrill of competition on such a grand stage,” said Mark Lamia, the head of Black Ops II developer Treyarch. “From the very beginning of development for Call of Duty: Black Ops II, we committed to making e-sports an integral part of the game, and it’s going to be awesome to watch the best teams in the world battle it out for everyone to see.”

E-sports is a growing sector of the video game market. Thousands of people watch competitive gaming online. This move from Activision is a big push to make the Xbox 360 version of Black Ops II one of the premiere e-sports games in that industry.

A large prize pool like this isn’t unheard of in e-sports — especially when it comes to the popular multiplayer online battle arena games. Valve had a $1.6 million total purse for a single Dota 2 tournament back in September. League of Legends has a total of $5 million in prizes across a season of tournaments. But competitive gamers already established the e-sports demand for those two games. Activision is coming at that sector from the top down.

The e-sports scene is growing more powerful every month, and this Activision moves seems like a way to market to that crowd. We’ll see how these gamers respond to that.