Major League Gaming’s 2011 Pro Circuit was a big success for the e-sports organization, so much so that the league has decided to expand the Pro Circuit in 2012 with more events and four seasons.
The new look of the Pro Circuit shifts away from the traditional US regional tournaments and towards a season for winter, spring, summer, and fall. Each season will feature online regional qualifiers on a global scale, followed by a live-streamed Arena event that will impact team and player seeding, and ending with a traditional Championship competition to crown the winners.
“Our 2012 MLG Pro Circuit season is poised to be our most robust to date – with even more competition online and in person, more broadcasts and more of the world’s best players,” said MLG CEO Sundance DiGiovanni. “We listened to our community and players to update our Pro Circuit format and ensure that placement in tournaments was a direct result of player performance. Our new Pro Circuit structure is designed to further the world of e-sports and take competitive gaming to a new level.”
Though MLG did not release a full list of games that players and teams will be competing in this year, the organization did confirm the first to be StarCraft II. In addition to the reveal, full details on the StarCraft II Winter Season and a look into what seasons for others games may be like were given as well.
Online qualifiers for the season will occur based upon region, with each taking place almost one after another. European qualifiers will occur from January 31-February 2, with Korea/Taiwan following from February 3-5 and North America finishing it off from February 6-8.
Not just anyone can join the qualifiers, however. MLG has sent out invites to 138 select players that have qualified as the best in the world based upon their performances in all “notable” StarCraft II tournaments in 2011, including several that do not fly under the MLG banner.
“We want to recognize [players] elsewhere,” said DiGiovanni. “The goal this year is to elevate the players.”
Once the qualifiers end, the top eight players from each competition combined with the top eight players from the 2011 National Championship will take part in the season’s live Arena event in New York City. The event will not be available to the public, but all travel and hotel fare for every competitor will be paid for by MLG.
When the Arena ends and cash prizes are awarded, the top 16 players will find themselves in the Pool Play of the Winter Championship while the bottom 16 will be receive byes into the Open Winners Bracket Round Five. In addition, the top 16 will also get full travel and hotel compensation for the Championship as they did for the Arena.
The Winter Championship will take place in Columbus, Ohio from March 23-25 and like Circuit events from previous years be open to those who either purchase a spectator pass or wish to watch the online stream. As with the 2011 National Championship, the top eight players from the Winter Championship will earn automatic insertion into the next season’s Arena event.