Understanding the Rainbow Six Siege eSports Scene
Rainbow Six Siege is among the most famous titles in the modern eSports scene, partly due to its ideal competitive environment. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege is a 5v5 first-person tactical shooter game that promotes a particular gameplay style. The game revolves around tactical agents with their unique skills, and the gameplay resembles a tactical siege, just as the game’s title suggests.
Ubisoft has not been a pioneer in competitive video game production, and Rainbow Six Siege wasn’t officially an eSports title when it was released back in 2015. However, the game was praised by everyone for its intense multiplayer experience, and the game blew up as one of the best multiplayer games at the time.
After some time, Ubisoft saw its potential, envisioned it as an eSports game, and partnered with ESL to ensure the game was balanced and suitable for competitive play. In 2016 ESL and Ubisoft officially announced “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Pro League;” their very own official global tournament for Windows and Xbox One players.
Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Pro League
Rainbow Six Pro League became the most prestigious competitive Siege league and an annual event where the best teams faced off each other in the most competitive R6 environment. Ubisoft and ESL organized and run the league and debuted at the Intel Extreme Masters in March 2016. The European team, PENTA Sports, went on to win the debut official R6 eSports title in the history of Rainbow Six eSports.
The Pro League consists of four regions, including North America (NA), Europe (EU), Latin America (LATAM), and Asia-Pacific (APAC). The regions NA, EU, and LATAM feature 8 teams in each respective region, while APAC has 4 more sub-regions, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, and Australia & New Zealand, each of which has 8 teams. The top 2 teams from each region get a spot at the Pro League finals, the league’s main event, which is usually held offline.
Pro League Finals has a single-elimination format with best-of-three (Bo3) games, and the team that wins it all is crowned as that season’s champion and receives the largest share of the shared massive prize pool. A season in R6 Pro League usually takes up to 6 months. Each season ends with a major international event such as the Six Invitational held in February or the Six Major held in August.
Six Invitational is a major annual tournament hosted by Ubisoft in conjunction with ESL at the home of the game’s developer, Montreal, Canada. The tournament brings the best eSports teams around the world onto a stage where they can prove themselves, and this tournament acts as the World Championship while marking the end of the previous year/season. The tournament is usually held at the beginning of each year, usually around February, and lasts a couple of weeks.
The first Six Invitational was held in 2017 separately for the 2 platforms, Xbox One and PC. The debut title only had six teams on both PC and Xbox One, and they all got to play in a single-elimination bracket, with Bo3 matches being the standard. The 2017 Six Invitational title also featured 2 separate prize pools of 100,000 USD and Elevate.One went on to win the Xbox One title while cTm went on to win the PC title.
Starting with the second Six Invitational, the tournament no longer featured 2 separate leagues for the 2 platforms, and the tournament was open to 16 teams in 4 groups of 4. The slots were allocated as follows;
- 8 Teams qualified by placing top two in their region’s Pro League
- 4 Teams qualified by placing first in their region’s respective Invitational Qualifier
- 2 Teams qualified by winning a Minor
- 1 Team qualified by winning the previous Six Major
- 1 Team selected by Ubisoft
This allowed the prize pools also to become bigger and the most hyped major tournament in the R6 eSports scene to become more competitive. In 2020, Ubisoft announced some major changes to the Six Invitational and the entire competitive scene of R6 eSports. A new Global Standings system was introduced, and starting from 2020, the Six Invitational will be open to 20 teams.
These teams were selected by being in the top 16 of the newly introduced Global Standings and by qualifying through regional qualifiers. Apart from that, the 2020 Six Invitational also featured a massive shared prize pool of a whopping 3 million USD, and since then, the prize pool has been that massive.
Six Major is a major Rainbow Six Siege global tournament hosted by Ubisoft exclusively. Similar to the Six Invitational, Six Major also brings the best teams from all around the world through Regional Leagues and acts as an interregional final for each Regional League stage. The tournament takes place in the middle of an R6 competitive season, usually around August, and chooses various venues worldwide as its host. However, Ubisoft has changed up the tournament’s schedule and format in recent years, and now an event is held every three months.
The Future of Rainbow Six Siege eSports
Like most famous eSports titles, Rainbow Six Siege also has a massive viewership on major content platforms. A report in 2020 by The Esports Observer even showcased that R6 is among the top eSports titles on the same tier alongside titles such as League of Legends, Dota 2, and CS:GO. Its massive viewership and massive player base earned it its spot.
However, the game has seen a decline in the player base in more recent years. The numbers have dropped drastically from millions to even less than a hundred thousand active players. It has been the same for its viewership as well. The game has seen a decline in its viewership numbers recently. However, the game is still not dead. Rainbow Six Siege still has a healthy amount of active players, and Ubisoft will continue to promote it for at least a few more years.