Previously prize pools could be inflated through purchases made in the Halo Infinite in-game store.
Halo's Championship Series (HCS) have announced that they are removing the ability to bolster Major event prize pools through crowdfunding.
The announcement comes just one week before the Halo World Championship. That event is taking place in Seattle starting on October 20, with a prize pool of $1,000,000.
Champs also features an extra $25,000 on offer to the winner of the HaloWC FFA event. The FFA side-event will run alongside the full World Championship schedule.
All three Major events of the 2022 HCS season had base prize pools of $250,000. Fans and members of the Halo community had the opportunity to add to this with purchases from the in-game store in Halo Infinite.
Every single Major: Raleigh, Kansas and Orlando, all reached the max cap in terms of additional prizing. Each of them ended up having a total prize pool of $350,000 thanks to the efforts of the Halo community. That's $300,000 in additional prizing just for the Major events of the season.
Now, with the changes that have been announced by the HCS, the crowdfunded money will not be put back into Major prize pools. Instead, the money will be reinvested into hosting extra events over the course of the season. Halo had success this year with events hosted by FaZe Clan and eUnited.
Both of those events were also part-funded through crowdfunding in the Halo store. The argument remains of why it couldn't just continue in the current way it is.
It also means that crowdfunding is not available to increase the prize for the World Championship event. In 2018, during the Halo 5 World Championship, crowdfunding managed to add an extra $500,000 to the eventual prize. This news comes less just over a month after Halo Infinite devs announced that a promised split-screen co-op feature will now not be making it into the game.
Halo to "continue this new philosophy"
HCS will add more events to the roadmap for Year 2 of Halo Infinite thanks to the change. It means that there will likely be more tournaments, more often next season.
In a statement about the change, HCS said: "Going forward, we’re going to continue this new philosophy in an effort to bolster the roadmap and add new events all together, rather than boosting what are already very large prize pools.
Because of the change, it is likely that prizing for Major events in next year's calendar will be lower than in Year 1. 343 will likely limit them to the $250,000 base payout.
HCS believe that more content is better. More tournaments mean more exposure in their eyes.
The statement continued: "We believe this holistic approach will result in more opportunities for players, as well as more content and entertainment for fans to watch. Ultimately, we feel this will drive a larger impact across the entire ecosystem, rather than putting so many eggs in one basket.
"Supporting partnered teams in this way has proven to be a powerful route to take as we can elevate the work that they’re doing, and even fill in gaps in the roadmap with all new tournaments."
Unsurprisingly, the chance has been met with some backlash from the top players in HCS. Eric "Snip3down" Wrona, Matt "FormaL" Piper and Tony "Lethul" Campbell were among the top players to voice their concerns.
Part of the draw in any esport is being able to fight it out for the biggest prize pools possible. With Halo, that's added in a deep rooted love for the game with players and fans contributing to that prize. It helps keep fans invested and that's now being taken away from both fans and players.
HCS reiterated that they are still excited for the future and optimistic ahead of teams playing for the biggest prize of the year at the World Championship.
Their statement regarding HCS crowdfunding continued: "With all that said we’re excited to offer our biggest prize pool of the year at HaloWC with $1,000,000 on the line, of which $400,000 goes to first place alone."
The Halo World Championship takes place at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. The event starts on Thursday, October 20 and runs to Sunday, October 23.