The Gears ELEAGUE Summer Series Is Coming, But What Is It?

Jason Fanelli,

April 24, 2019 9:30 AM

Xbox and ELEAGUE announced a new Gears of War themed series coming this summer, but what will it actually be? We look at what we know, and what could potentially be a revolutionary moment in esports.

One week ago, Xbox and ELEAGUE announced the Gears of War Summer Series, a brand new Gears of War competition show seemingly focused around the upcoming Gears 5 starting this June. Our eyebrows were raised for two reasons: one, competitive Gears is returning despite it struggling to compete against Fortnite and its ilk on streaming platforms; and two, perhaps more importantly, Gears 5 has no known release date.

Which Gears is it?

That announcement trailer certainly sounds like Gears 5 is going to be the main game, right? Also that premiere date of June 14th is intriguing, as it’s the Friday right after a certain electronic entertainment expo in Los Angeles. The official press release recap of the Inside Xbox episode didn’t shed much light either, saying the following:

“In partnership with ELEAGUE, Xbox announced the ELEAGUE Gears Summer Series: The Bonds and Betrayals of Brotherhood – a six-part event series and live tournament focused on the stories and players behind the world of Gears Esports with the first episode debuting on TBS, Friday, June 14, at 11 pm ET/PT.”

That’s a fine description, but here’s the problem: it doesn’t match up with the video announcement. The video stresses Gears 5 as a major part of the competition, while the press release makes no mention of which games will be played. Instead it focused on the “stories and players behind the world of Gears Esports,” which will certainly be interesting, but where does the new game fit in?

If Gears 5’s multiplayer is not what’s being played in this six-part series, especially after that announcement video, fans are going to be peeved and rightfully so. It smells of bait-and-switch, a promise of new content only to provide older games and competitions. Fans will ask why the Gears 5 logo was shown for an ELEAGUE event with no Gears 5, and Xbox may find itself in a sticky situation.

There is an alternative, however. Something that our research shows has never happened before on this scale, and something that could turn a sticky situation into a triumph: Xbox could use this ELEAGUE show to give us weekly updates on the new game. New footage and new info could be peppered throughout the competition, be it new weapons, maps, or more. The esports competition could be used as a vehicle for new Gears 5 information every single week.

Will we be seeing Gears 5 multiplayer in an ELEAGUE setting before the game launches?
Will we be seeing Gears 5 multiplayer in an ELEAGUE setting before the game launches?

A new era in Gears, and all of esports

Some may find that last sentence a little gross, using an esports competition as essentially a marketing tool won’t sit well with some of the community. However, take a look at any other competition and you’ll see that they’re just as much advertisements for the games being played as they are pure competitions. Look at EVO; for every hype comeback and action-packed fighting game matchup there’s a new announcement from the companies making the games. Why can’t Xbox try it too with Gears?

Furthermore, the date of the ELEAGUE premiere further buffs this idea. June 14 is the Friday after E3 2019, the biggest video game info dump of the year. In the same Inside Xbox episode as this announcement, Xbox also laid out their full E3 plans, including the press conference on Sunday and the return of Xbox FanFest. With that massive presence is sure to come a wave of Gears 5 info, and now Xbox has in its back pocket a six-week event to keep that wave going. The Xbox Wire article linked at the beginning supports this idea, saying this:

“ELEAGUE will feature the worldwide debut of Gears 5 Versus multiplayer, culminating in the ELEAGUE Gears Summer Series live tournament. There, eight of the top Gears of War teams from around the world will gather within ELEAGUE Arena at Turner Studios in Atlanta, to showcase and compete in Gears 5. This not-to-be missed esports event will be streamed live on Twitch and the B/R Live premium sports streaming service, July 13-14.”

If Xbox can pull this off we may be seeing this “using esports to show off upcoming games” idea more readily replicated by other companies, and honestly the logic is hard to argue. Esports is a huge market right now, people love watching the best of the best play their favorite games, so why not allow the heat of competition to make the newest game in Gears shine? We’re keeping a close eye on this series, as it could easily become a turning point in how companies treat competitive gaming from here on out.

For more on everything esports, check out our look at the Fortnite x Avengers collaboration, as well as the full Fatalities list for the newest fighting game on the scene, Mortal Kombat 11.


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