Why Did Cineplex Host An ‘Uncharted 4’ Esports Tournament?

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As esports has grown in popularity and stature, there has been an influx of larger corporations and entities from outside the gaming sphere trying to make their mark on the industry. As a result, companies such as RumbleGaming and Waveform Entertainment have helped familiarize outside groups with the ins and outs of the industry.

As it turns out, this kind of service is a necessity, as evidenced by the ill-fated Uncharted 4 tournament hosted by Cineplex. 

Uncharted 4 Tournament – Hosted By Cineplex

In 2016, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was easily one of the hottest games on the market. Released in May 2016, it was both a critical and commercial success, and a must-have for the PlayStation 4.

It was also a great time in competitive gaming. By November of the same year, the Overwatch League would be created, and EVO saw record-breaking viewership, as well as the largest fighting game tournament of all-time, with Street Fighter V getting more than 5,000 entrants. The rising popularity of esports began to draw the attention of larger entertainment entities.

One of those was Cineplex, a Canadian entertainment company that runs the largest theatre chain in the country. Armed with plenty of resources and wanting to capitalize on the exponentially growing esports scene, they looked to make immediate moves.

Unfortunately, they had little to no outside guidance on what the popular esports trends were at the time, and so they decided to host a tournament on whatever game was most popular at the time: Uncharted 4.

Uncharted 4 Tournament Rules

The Uncharted 4 ruleset can be found in full here, but the general gameplay rules were:

  • Team Deathmatch
  • Best of 3 series
  • 10-minute timer
  • Score limit of 40
  • Respawn time of 10 seconds
  • Boosters and downed state turned to “on”
  • Maps included: Auction House, Rooftops, Scotland, Madagascar City, Island and Pirate Colony.

Teams of five would compete in online qualifiers to narrow down teams to regional finals, in which 16 times who won the regional finals would face off to be one of the eight teams who would be flown out to Toronto for a chance at becoming the Uncharted 4 champions. Each member of the championship team would win $10,000, meaning the total prize pool was $50,000.

The finals in Toronto took place on August 21st, 2016, and the team that ended up winning was SetToDestroyX (nowadays known as Lazarus Esports.) The full 4-hour broadcast of the finals can be seen here:

Aftermath

Cineplex’s first jump into esports wasn’t as successful as they’d hoped, with the unorthodox choice of hosting an Uncharted 4 tournament not helping. The reception to the tournament finals was mixed, and Uncharted 4 didn’t really have the same competitive foundation as other games.

Groups such as Waveform Entertainment, who did production for the event, consulted with Cineplex on how to create esports events that were more in line with the way the industry was trending. As a result, Cineplex now hosts esports events centered around games such as Rocket League and Call of Duty. This has added a sense of legitimacy to Cineplex’s presence in the esports world.

Despite a rocky start with their choice to host an Uncharted 4 tournament, Cineplex listened to industry veterans and made the necessary changes to have a chance at succeeding in competitive gaming.