The upcoming Raleigh Kick-Off Major taking place from Friday to Sunday will include 30 American players out of the 64 competing in the pool play portion of the tournament. This 46.9% is the lowest number we’ve seen at any Halo Major to date as more international teams were invited to the traditionally NA-dominant esport.
These 30 players alongside two Canadians -- Royal2 and Druk -- make up the eight North American rosters. Adding to this, 12 Mexican players make up the three Mexican rosters and Oceania’s lone representatives include three Australians and a Filipino. Finally hailing from Europe comes seven Frenchmen, seven Brits, a German, and a Spaniard.
This split up is historically unusual with Halo’s biggest tournaments over the last decade having the following number of Americans:
- Halo World Championship 2018 -- 34/64 players, 53.1%
- Halo World Championship 2017 -- 28/48 players, 58.3%
- Halo World Championship 2016 -- 31/64 players, 48.4%
- Halo Championship Series Season 1 -- 31/36, 86.1%
- MLG Winter Championship 2012 -- 31/32, 96.9%
As well as this, even Majors that took place outside of North America such as 2018’s London Major still saw the event filled with American players with 30/48 at that event compared to 12 Europeans, and five Mexicans.
This comes as part of a very deliberate attempt by Microsoft to make Halo a global esports as half of all pool play spots at the Major are given to international rosters compared to a third at the HCS 2018 Finals.
All pool play teams and the top two open bracket teams from each region also had their travel covered which eliminated a major barrier to compete for non-NA rosters as last-minute cross-continental flights can cost thousands of dollars per player without Microsoft’s assistance.
Only time will tell whether Halo Infinite does catch on outside of the USA, however, either way, facilitating these global players does nothing but help the quality of all four scenes grow as the players take what they’ve learned back to their local servers.
As for whether these international teams can stack up to the Americans now, we’ll have to wait until this weekend to see.