Recently updated ALGS rules seem to indicate that South America will not be a competition region in the fourth year of ALGS.
An updated ALGS rulebook seems to reveal that there will not be a South American ALGS region in the fourth year of the competition.
The new section of rules, designed to add clarity on next years Pro League qualification, do not have South America listed as a region at all.
UPDATE: Chris Piper, from ALGS League Ops has now responded and confirmed that "South American players will have guaranteed representation at each of the LAN events".
Update: ALGS respond to the statement
In a post on Reddit, ALGS League Ops manager Chris Piper responded to the updated rules.
"While each region’s ALGS Year 4 competitive format, including Playoffs and Championship qualification paths, will be revealed in full when we share the Year 4 Official Rules later this year, we want all South American players to know that their region will be part of ALGS Year 4 and have guaranteed representation at each of the LAN events.
We’ll have much more to share with you in the weeks following the Split 2 Playoffs as we begin to announce what’s in store for Year 4."
This update confirms that South America will have representation in ALGS. However it appears that they may not have a Pro League. Instead, a new format may be applied to this region. Sources have told esports.gg that ALGS have been concerned in the past about the lack of South American teams, especially in the Challenger Circuit. This could be a reason for any changes.
Could ALGS ditch South America?
The updated rules clarify how teams will be selected for the next seasons ALGS Pro League. This has always been a bit of a mystery, and the clarity was welcomed ahead of the final events of the ALGS calendar.
However, the rules state that "Teams in North America, EMEA, APAC North and APAC South will be invited to the Year 4 Pro League Split 1..."
This exact list of regions is also repeated later in the ruleset. The omission of South America has raised immediate concern that this region is set for removal ahead of the next ALGS year.
Why are people concerned?
Of course, you would assume it is a simple error if it was a region like North America that was missing. However, South America is the smallest ALGS region. Therefore it does not seem that farfetched that EA would make such a decision.
There was a time where South America used to play some events with North America. Old playoff events in the first ALGS year were "super regionals". When the Pro League was originally introduced, these regions were totally separated.
South America's viewership is among the lowest of all ALGS regions. Both Pro League splits averaged around 3.5k viewers. This stat includes personal player streams, as well as the main broadcast. South American ALGS is not broadcast on 'PlayApex'.
In comparison to North America, this is a mere fraction of their viewership. North America averaged over 100k views in the last ALGS Pro League. This is in no small part thanks to some of the large streamers in the region. EMEA, for comparison, averaged 56k.
South America does also already have lower Pro League prizing than North America, EMEA and APAC North.
Will South Americans still be able to play?
The other question is on what would happen to players in this region if it is removed. Players might be able to compete in North America, but the region has not been renamed to "America" or something to reflect the change.
North America is a very populated and competitive region, with some of the best 'strength in depth' in ALGS. Adding in South America would create a real struggle to fit all deserving teams into the 30 team Pro League. There would also be competitive issues like ping differences to consider.