ESL announces Critical Ops Championship Series with live finals

ESL has partnered with Critical Force from mobile first-person shooter Critical Ops to form a Critical Ops Championship Series.

The bulk of the league will take place online starting in May into July, and a LAN finals event is planned for August in Los Angeles. The live event, though, will not be run by ESL.  

“We want to test our capabilities in an offline environment,” Critical Force Esports Manager Kasperi Kivistö explained to Esports Insider. “That’s why the first Critical Ops live event was a natural step for us. Our goal is to find best two teams from both NA and EU regions and that’s what ESL is going to help us with.”

“However, the live event itself is not organised by ESL. We will release more information about the live event as soon as we can.” 

According to the joint announcement, teams will begin by playing through six open cups run on the ESL Play platform. Eventually, the top teams will face off in a larger tournament to qualify for the live event. Two teams each from North America and Europe will attend the main event, which will have its own prize pool. The open cups will have their own prizes, varying from cash to in-game “weapon cases” used to accessorise characters. 

They also claim that the rules will be tighter, with use of five-on-five matches and enforcing the limit of a single squad per organization for the duration. This is likely a move towards standardization of rules.

This is the first time that a major league organizer on the scale of ESL has helped with the “finals” or primary championships of a mobile-only game. ESL was likely utilised since the company has its own online league infrastructure used for a variety of other games, much like MLG.

Esports Insider says: The fact that ESL has decided to work so closely with this game’s developers means that the entertainment company is seriously considering the impact of mobile games on the market. Critical Ops is certainly a flagship competitive game of its platform, and so we’re looking forward to seeing how this tournament turns out.