Microsoft and 343 Industries have announced the esports organisations that will compete in the rebooted Halo Championship Series (HCS) featuring Halo: Infinite.
The official partner teams are: Cloud9, eUnited, FaZe Clan, Fnatic, G2 Esports, NAVI, Sentinels, Spacestation Gaming, and Team Envy.
Per an official blog post, teams were selected based on ‘significant funding’ they will invest in the Halo ecosystem through salaries to players, coaches, managers, and content creation. Specific financial terms were not disclosed, aside from a claim that none of these funds will go to Microsoft or 343 Industries — only the community.
Microsoft is a sponsored partner of Cloud9 which includes some technical support of their teams, but this does not include the Halo Infinite team, according to the company.
Tahir ‘Tashi’ Hasandjekic, Halo Esports Lead at Microsoft/343 Industries explained why teams are integral to the HCS ecosystem in a June blog post: “Teams play a super critical role in the success of esports, and that role is increasing all the time. First and foremost, they provide financial stability for the players in the scene.
“For long term sustainability, players cannot rely solely on prize money, so it’s important that there are ways for players to receive regular, reliable financial support to pursue competing. Creating content and streaming is also another great way for pro players to earn income.”
Microsoft and 343 Industries also host a ‘Grassroots HCS’ program that partners with content creators and tournament organisers.
Founded in 2014, the Halo Championship Series is the official Halo esports league maintained by developer 343 Industries. The tournaments were hosted in partnership with Major League Gaming (MLG), ESL, Dreamhack, and the Ultimate Gaming Championship (UGC). For Halo: Infinite, Esports Engine and 343 Industries plan to ‘build the greatest esports program Halo has ever seen’.
“Behind the scenes, we’ve been hard at work for the last few years building out the ecosystem with Teams being a huge component of that,” said Hasandjekic. “We are so proud to have such an incredible lineup of Teams ready to jump into Halo, and we can’t wait to get [to] work.”
Esports Insider says: This is an exciting time for Halo esports and it’s nice to see transparency around why certain teams are selected. The general public isn’t typically aware of how esports teams make money outside of prize winnings, and what it takes to maintain a tournament ecosystem. Let’s hope that the triumphant return of HCS extends far into the future.