Ubisoft is still going after the esports scene.
The French publisher launched the third season of the Rainbow Six: Siege Pro League today with preliminary rounds starting for Xbox One players today, Monday August 29, and for PC players on Thursday. This will pit the best teams in the world against one another in the SWAT-team simulator while giving up-and-coming squads a chance to get into the Pro League through weekly tournaments. A $150,000 prize pool is up for grabs this season, and teams can register with ESL, the organizer that is managing the Pro League.
Esports is a growing market that is worth $892 million.That money primarily comes from sponsorships and ticket sales, but Ubisoft is not pursuing competitive gaming as a primary source of revenue. Instead, the company is using this as a marketing strategy to promote Siege. Ubisoft is hoping this ongoing competition will keep Siege players engaged in the game and spending money on in-game content like new golden weapons that sell for $8 each.
Season Three of the Rainbow Six Pro League will continue through the next seven weeks. Xbox One competition is happening today on the Rainbow Six livestreaming Twitch channel, and you can catch it below:
Ubisoft is not new to esports — although the company has had a lot of false starts in the space. Most notably, the company announced that it was starting its own esport with the fast-paced shooter ShootMania: Storm. That game was an offshoot of the TrackMania racer, and it featured in-depth map-creation tools. But despite Ubisoft’s insistence that ShootMania was the next big esport (or potentially because of it), the game never found a pro-gaming audience.
The French publisher is taking a much more low-key approach with Rainbow Six: Siege. Instead of hyping up the game as an esport from the beginning, Ubisoft has invested in supporting the community that has arisen naturally. That has enabled it to get to season three of the Pro League, and it is possible that these events will continue for many more seasons to come.