That headshot you just pulled off in Call of Duty could earn you $1 million

Call of Duty: Black Ops II

From April 5 to April 7, Activision, Microsoft, and the major eSports leagues will host an event in Hollywood, California appropriately dubbed the “Call of Duty Championship.” As you’d expect, the companies involved want the event to attract only the best players and as a result have decided to include “32 of the world’s most skilled multiplayer teams” in the tournament. These players will be going head-to-head against one another on the Xbox 360 version of Call of Duty: Black Ops II for a shot at the event’s grand prize: A cool $1 million. 

That’s a surprisingly large purse for what is ostensibly an tournament for pro gamers. The top gamers in the world can pull down upwards of $200K per year, so the $1 million pot is likely to bring the best of the best. It will be an all-star tournament of pro gaming, and could help the growth of eSports. 

 “More people play Call of Duty multiplayer every day than watch the average regular season game of the NBA. The scale and passion of the Call of Duty fan base is simply humbling, and yet there is no formal way to find out who amongst those millions of players is the best of the best, until now,” explains Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg. 

This won’t be the first time Activision and Microsoft have opened their collective coffers and showered the monetary love on gamers. In 2011 during the Call of Duty XP event, the two companies held a similar competition, also with $1 million on the line. 

Those of a cynical mindset are welcome to view this as a PR stunt designed to generate more interest for Activision’s flagship game and Microsoft’s most valuable partner thanks to the timed exclusive DLCs that have made the Xbox 360 the chosen platform for Call of Duty fans. And that’s probably fair. But the flipside is that the competition stands to give pro gaming a shot of legitimacy. The eSports field isn’t likley to compete directly with athletic competitions, but the still young industry could one day rival competitions like professional poker. 

You’re likely now wondering if you might qualify for a chance to take part in the tournament. The good news is that yes, technically you can qualify. The bad news is that you’ll have to defeat some of the best Call of Duty players on the planet to do so.

If you’re still interested, you’ll need to gather up a group of pals (the tourney is for teams of four) and pay a visit to the official Call of Duty Elite site. Once there you’ll find access to a simple registration form. After you’ve completed the paperwork, the only thing standing between you and the tournament itself is the next month of Call of Duty Elite League Play. The best teams will have to prove themselves throughout the month of February, and once March arrives the top eight squads will be entered into April’s big $1 million tournament. The remaining 24 spots in the tournament will be split between the top eight teams to emerge from the upcoming Major League Gaming Winter Championship and the eight best squads from the eSports League’s European Finals. The remaining eight spots are earmarked for the best teams from Asia, Brazil, and Australia.

“It’s an absolute honor to have players and fans celebrate the thrill of competition on such a grand stage,” said Mark Lamia, head of Black Ops II developer Treyarch. “From the very beginning of development for Call of Duty: Black Ops II, we committed to making eSports an integral part of the game, and it’s going to be awesome to watch the best teams in the world battle it out for everyone to see.”

Gaming

The history of Battle Royale: From mod to worldwide phenomenon

Battle royale games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds’ and Fortnite have become the biggest trend in video games. The genre is also pushing the envelope in streaming and eSports in a way that might hint at the future of the industry.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Gaming

Everything about 'Red Dead Online', including its new microtransaction store

Red Dead Online will gradually rolled out to Red Dead Redemption 2 players via a beta. We've got all the details about the beta's suite of competitive and cooperative modes, as well as what to expect going forward.
Computing

Microsoft Surface Pro 6: Everything you need to know

The Surface Pro 6 is officially here, though it's not as big of a redesign as you might have hoped. With a new coat of black paint and an 8th-gen processor, this is a small update. If you've been eyeing a Surface Pro, you may want to wait…
Gaming

‘Kingdom Hearts III’ out in the wild, director asks for support to stop spoilers

Kingdom Hearts III has been leaked, with several copies of the game out in the wild. The game's director, Tetsuya Nomura, responded to the situation, calling for help from gamers to stop spoilers from spreading online.
Gaming

The DualShock 4 is one of the best controllers ever, and you can use it with a PC

Sony's new DualShock 4 controller has become a fan favorite, and some people want to use it with a PC. Here's how to connect your DualShock 4 and start using it, either with an official adapter, or unofficial software.
Gaming

Project Stream testers get to keep a free copy of ‘Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’

Those who participated in Google's technical test of Project Stream won't be able to access the service to play Assassin's Creed Odyssey after January 15, but they'll get to keep the game on PC anyway.
Gaming

Newest ‘Destiny 2’ raid already completed by two-person team

The latest raid in Destiny 2: Forsaken is Scourge of the Past, and a two-person team has already managed to complete it. The task took 15 hours of trial-and-error effort before the duo managed to take down the final boss.
Gaming

The 25 best SNES games

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System might be the greatest game console ever made, but what are the best titles for the system? Here are our picks for the best SNES games, including A Link to the Past and Chrono Trigger.
Deals

Need a discounted Xbox bundle by Christmas? Walmart has you covered

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have both come and gone, but you can still save some cash on a new Xbox One bundle at Walmart. Both the Xbox One S and the Xbox One X are on sale now.
Gaming

With our Steam guide, you can give the gift of gaming this holiday season

The holidays may have passed, but it's always a good time to give the gift of gaming (especially when there's a Steam sale)! Here's our quick guide on how to give a Steam game as a gift.
Gaming

‘Fortnite’ update 7.10 brings a rotating selection of modes big and small

The latest update for Fortnite introduces 14 Days of Fortnite, an event that brings back large and small battle royale modes as well as brand new ones to enjoy during the holiday season.
Gaming

New Xbox consoles are reportedly code-named ‘Anaconda’ and ‘Lockhart’

Microsoft's next-generation Xbox plans reportedly consist of two separate consoles. One, called "Lockhart," is a more affordable machine, while "Anaconda" is designed with more horsepower.
Gaming

Who needs a Switch? These 25 games prove there's fun to be found on 3DS

The 3DS is home to a large library, including some of the greatest games Nintendo has ever published. We've compiled this list of some of the best Nintendo 3DS games currently available.