The IGN Pro League just announced that it will play host to a ShootMania Storm tournament at its IPL 5 event in Las Vegas at the end of November, where six teams of three will compete over a $100,000 prize pool.
The six teams invited to the Las Vegas tournament will be selected through six different online qualifiers, four in North America and two in Europe, employing a best-of-three format. IPL 5 will also include an open event where teams that did not win invites can fight their way onto the group stage for a chance at the prize.
This announcement is the latest move in the free-to-play shooter’s courtship of the eSports community, which has already put in appearances at DreamHack Summer and Gamescom. It is also representative of an increasing trend among developers to identify their games as potential eSports. At the Valencia eSports Congress last Friday, we saw representatives from Wargaming.net (World of Tanks) and Adhesive Games (Hawken) discussing the eSports scene and where their games fit into it.
Like developer Nadeo’s TrackMania, ShootMania is also designed to promote customized, user-generated maps and game modes. A joint press release from Ubisoft and IGN today boasts that players have created 15 game modes and 20,000 maps so far using the map editor. It’s an interesting approach to building an eSport that gives the community space to experiment and coalesce around different competitive formats.
Whether that will translate into eSports success is impossible to say: ShootMania is only in beta, and competitive shooters have not seen the same growth that StarCraft and MOBAs have enjoyed in the last few years.
Interested players can get instant access to the ShootMania beta with their pre-order.