Activision Blizzard is getting serious about e-sports, and that now extends to the ever-popular digital card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. Blizzard has announced details for the 2016 edition of the Hearthstone Championship Tour, and it differs from 2015 in one key regard: there's a lot more money on the line. Next year's championship final will feature a $1 million prize pool, quadruple the amount from the 2015 edition.
Quadruple the amount from 2015
To go along with the increased cash, the year-long competitive series will also feature a more structured format. Players from Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the Americas, will compete in a series of seasonal tournaments throughout the year, and winning will earn them a place in the final. Four players from each region will make it to the World Championship, along with four from China, though it appears that Chinese players will follow a different path to the final. Each regional championship also features a $100,000 prize pool. Things actually kick off today, with a competition at DreamHack Winter 2015 in Sweden, before wrapping up at the end of next year when the top 16 players compete for the world prize. The 2015 final took place earlier this month at Blizzcon in Anaheim.
Blizzard parent company Activision Blizzard has been making a strong push into the world of e-sports as of late, and the revamped Hearthstone competition is just the latest example. In September the company announced a new competitive league for Call of Duty with $3 million in prizes, while the Heroes of the Storm world championship earlier this month offered a similarly large $1.2 million in prize money. The publisher also launched a dedicated e-sports division headed up by former ESPN CEO Steve Bornstein. "I believe e-sports will rival the biggest traditional sports leagues in terms of future opportunities," Bornstein said at the time when explaining the move.