Head of Xbox Phil Spencer is optimistic about the future for competitive professional gaming. He said recently at the Halo World Championship that he thinks the e-sports scene will eventually rise to match the profile of traditional sports such as football and basketball.
“I think for the industry, e-sports is going to be as big as regular sports,” he said. “You look at the number of people who play games, you look at the different platforms people are playing on, you look at the money that’s pouring in, the broadcasts.”
Why is Spencer so optimistic? In short, games are easy to get into. And like traditional sports, gaming requires practice, teamwork, and dedication to rise to the top.
“It’s so accessible — anybody can play a game,” he said. “I think there’s no cap to what e-sports can become. Unlike any other sport, you just sit down, grab a controller, and start playing games and build your skills.”
Spencer has seen the profile of competitive organized gaming grow in size and scope over the years.
“I think about us back on the original Xbox, plugging wires together,” he said. “My e-sport was, ‘Could I beat the guys in my dorm room?’ Now, people are making a living playing Halo. It’s great to see how the community comes together to support e-sports. It’s real. It’s fantastic.”
Pro gaming team CLG defeated Allegiance by a commanding 4-0 margin at the 2016 Halo World Championship on Sunday evening, taking home a trophy and a $1 million prize. That prize, funded in part by Halo 5: Guardians microtransaction sales, was the biggest in console gaming history, according to Microsoft.
A new Halo Championship Series: Pro League has been announced, featuring a Challenger League that will allow anyone, anywhere to try to beat the best teams in the world.
You can watch a replay of the 2016 Halo World Championship in the video above.