Crunch time for billion-dollar Halo franchise as Valve show how it’s done
This week saw the start of the main event for Valve’s 3rd annual Dota 2 tournament; The International. With a prize pot of almost $3m and a first-week viewership of nearly 800,000, things have never looked so good for Valve’s flagship free-to-play MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena). It’s a stark contrast for Halo 4, a once record-setting franchise whose popularity is now flailing in a Europe-wide popularity slump for first person shooters. This struggle was made even more apparent when the European Gaming League axed Halo from its 10th LAN event in the UK after the sci-fi shooter failed to meet its target of entering just 8 teams.
Halo 4’s hopes to reignite its position as a leading brand in eSports now firmly rest on Multiplay’s 49th Insomnia Gaming Festival which takes place later this month. With greater team interest, a free-for-all event and Multiplay’s knack for pulling in the sponsors, it looks like Halo will once again be a LAN fixture. To its testament, its made even more impressive due to the fact that Halo 4 is an Xbox 360 exclusive and is debuting at a primarily PC based LAN event.
But Multiplay and the Halo community need this to work; they can’t afford for another low turnout that will cause any future events to seriously reconsider Halo’s involvement. We recently spoke to Michael Valentine, co-founder of European Halo community TopMid.eu, to ask him just what this means for the Halo community and the importance that a well run and popular event would have going forward.
Michael told us, “To put it bluntly, it’s massive. With the support we’ve seen from yourselves (Editors note: ConsoleDeals.co.uk are backing the console franchise and are sponsoring the event) and others, the community have really got behind this event, and we’re seeing a lot more hype than we normally do for Halo events.”
“Hopefully the numbers are strong and we can put on quite the show for people watching at the venue and at home on the stream. We’ve tried to make this event all about the community, allowing them input in all the major decisions to do with the tournament, so they know this event is all about them.”
Gemma Cooper, a member of TopMid.eu’s admin team, echoed Michael’s sentiments: “I can’t thank the people involved enough for putting their faith behind our community and the staff team, especially ConsoleDeals, Astro, Hauppauge, SquidGrip and Multiplay of course!”
“We never expected the support for Halo to become so large again, especially after games like Call of Duty just completely dominate the scene. This therefore is slowly becoming one of the largest Halo events in Europe since the days of Halo 3.”
It seems that Halo has finally back on the UK stage, and is looking to grab it’s chance with both hands.