NetherRealm Studios and Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment are working hard to raise the level of awareness and engagement in the fighting game community tournament scene. How are they doing that? Well, when you purchase the Blue Steel Sub-Zero Skin DLC for Mortal Kombat X it goes toward a prize pool for upcoming tournaments, including the ESL event and EVO series in July.
As noted in the press release...
With a month remaining before the July 11 ESL Mortal Kombat X Worldwide Competitive Program finals, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is doubling its commitment to the prize pool and raising it to $100,000 USD.
Warner Bros has already committed to $50,000 toward Mortal Kombat X's participation at EVO, and they also plan to devote sponsorship funds toward the ESL Mortal Kombat X Pro League after already pledging funds to the Combo Breaker event that took place this past May and the MCM Comic Con invitational that recently rolled out at the end of last month in the United Kingdom.
Another event on Warner Bros' sponsorship list is the CEO event scheduled to take place between June 26th and June 28th in Orlando, Florida, where Mortal Kombat X is scheduled to make an appearance along with a number of other high profile fighting games.
The Sub-Zero skin goes for $1.99 and it's interesting that the money that gamers are putting into the coffers of Warner Bros isn't just for pure profit but it's actually being used to funnel growth and awareness back into the gaming community and the eSports scene when it comes to fighting games. As far as growth goes, this seems about the perfect way to go about it.
It makes sense that the company would see a furtive opportunity to cash in on a growing audience, since according to GamesIndustry.biz the overall eSports culture is expected to grow in year-over-year viewership by a massive 27%.
According to a Newzoo market research report about the growth and revenue sustainability within the electronic sports sector, they stated that...
Across the 16 countries investigated, esports viewer numbers have increase 6 per cent since our identical research in 2014. Interestingly, the group of Occasional Viewers shows a slight decline with the number of Enthusiasts growing by 31 per cent. This points to a migration of casual to engaged viewers, and an overall increase in the intensity of esports engagement,
They're expecting the eSports scene to generate about $71 million in prize money this year, thanks to initiatives and efforts from companies like Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment.
$100,000 may seem like a drop in the bucket when compared to the likes of $71 million overall, but it still helps foster and grow the different niche communities within the competitive gaming scene, giving said competitors a reason to venture across the country (or sometimes even the world) to earn a decent wage just by laying down some thick combos and beating the mess out of long-time rivals or new faces in the tournament scene.
You can learn more about Mortal Kombat X's participation in the EVO series by visiting the official website or you can pay a visit to the official ESL website to learn more about that upcoming event.