Alright nerds, get ready for this one. Fair warning, this is going to be a deeper dive into esports and how Halo is properly building their esports audience. I'll try to keep it simple to understand for everybody, but if you have any questions, feel free to tweet me.
Let's start from the top - right off the rip, you can see esports and the competitive teams are represented in Halo Infinite right off the rip. If you want to support your favorite team, you can buy their skin and pledge your allegiance.
Furthermore, the game released on DAY 1 with a ranked playlist. Clearly, this gets players in the mindset of competitive and rank progression. Compare this directly with Call of Duty - both Cold War and Vanguard released without a ranked playlist in the game. They are added into the game in a later update. This directly hurts players' willingness to play the game competitively at all and with that, you lose potential audience members that would've been a part of comp from the beginning.
So by directly adding in a ranked playlist on the game drop, plus making esport teams a part of the entire game - you build your esports audience organically. For example, not everyone is going to watch Halo competitive off the rip, but if they see skins they like and realize it's connected to an org, then you have a very organic way to grow the following.
Aside from just the skins, having the ranked playlist gets gamers in the mindset that this game is meant to be played competitively. Think about the loyalty of fan bases that games like CS:GO (Counter-Strike: Global Offensive) and Valorant have been able to create. A large part of this is because you immediately connect these games with competition.
I for one am fully addicted to Valorant because the rank progression gives you something to play for.
Then, once you're hooked on ranking up and progressing through the game, you begin to watch pros play to learn from their strategies, recoil patterns and team play.
What I'm trying to convey in this blog is that a ranked mode gives players something to grind for, in turn makes players want to play the game more and overall will organically build the esports fanbase. This is a direct reason why Halo will have a relatively successful competitive scene and Call of Duty should really takes about how to grow their competitive landscape.
Lastly, let's talk about timing: The CDL (Call of Duty League) doesn't start until February. By that time, the game's initial hype is fading away and the game is middle of it's yearly cycle. (1) Day after launch, Halo announced their esports schedule and it will be beginning with a kickoff tournament on December 17th. That's how you capture hype of a launch.