SXSW used to be a cool festival for musicians and artists to hang out. Now in its 30th year, it’s become other things: Woodstock for tech geeks, Davos for hipsters, mid-semester break for nerds. So where do esports fit in?
The cultural cache of SXSW might make it the ideal platform for showcasing something like Fortnite or even Smash Bros. Ultimate to the larger world. Instead, Microsoft chose it for a soft relaunch of classic Halo.
On Wednesday the company announced Halo: The Master Chief Collection would get ported to PC, beginning with Halo: Reach. Starting today and going into the weekend, the company is holding a $US100,000 ($141,202) Halo 3 tournament at SXSW where top players can use their battle rifles to rekindle the magic of a previous generation of esports.
The tournament kicked off today at 3:30AM AEDT, with matches going until 12:00PM. Play continues throughout Sunday, capped off by two of the best players in the series’ competitive history, Eric “Snip3down” Wrona and Tony “LethuL” Campbell, facing off in a rivals show match.
The first Major League Gaming National Championship featured Halo: Combat Evolved in 2004. Skipping only 2009, the series reigned supreme throughout that era of competitive gaming, back before pro players lived in dedicated team houses and had chefs to prepare them actual food.
It all had the feel and mystique of watching early UFC bootlegs, and the news of Halo coming to PC for the first time in over a decade has some people hopeful the a new scene might spring up around the older games. What else is SXSW for if not using new technology to pine for the the past?
The fighting game community, meanwhile, will have its attention focused elsewhere, with Final Round 2019 going on this weekend in Atlanta. Featuring Street Fighter 5, Tekken 7, Guilty Gear Xrd REV2, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and a bunch of other fighting games, the matches will be throughout this morning and on Sunday beginning at 1:00AM AEDT, then on Monday with the top eight in each game beginning at 2:00AM AEDT.