Lastly, with the Six Invitational being the biggest event in Rainbow Six: Siege's history yet again, esports is also a key focus when it comes to the team's plans for 2019. That said, they made it clear that they're not being as dramatic when it comes to changes in Year 4, because that would be rather disruptive for players, who had to adapt to the move from a three-month to six-month Pro League season in Year 3. Pick & Ban was also introduced, let's not forget, a change which is now permeating to the everyday players.
In terms of events we obviously have the Six Invitational which is just wrapping up, and we'll also see the event return next year to Montreal, since Ubisoft enjoys hosting the community celebration in the city where the game is developed. In May we'll see an event in Italy, before a Major takes place in the US in August (a big change from Paris last year), with the game heading to Asia for the first time with an event in November. Much like the Operators themselves, Ubisoft is embracing diversity with the locations of these events.
As a part of what they call "constant innovation" Ubisoft wants to maintain a similar structure with small tweaks, so three-month Challenger leagues will run alongside six-month Pro Leagues, with Minors at places like DreamHack also helping the lower level teams shine. This grassroots commitment has been bolstered this year with the addition of partners such as iBUYPOWER, so expect to see more teams impress us at these smaller events.
Lastly, we have revenue sharing, a model that was introduced last year to give back to the teams that are competing at the top level. Ubisoft is impressed with how this is going and said that the prize pool for the Six Invitational is capped at $2 million USD, with all the money over that amount being redistributed among the other events for the year. This ongoing commitment will probably mean more in-game goodies, so we'll have to wait and see what happens.
What does all of this mean though? Well, it'll be a less disruptive year, that's for sure. Year 3 was a year full of big changes both for the regular players - with map reworks (returning but less dramatically with maps like Kanal) and special events mixing things up in major ways - but also for the esports players who dealt with Pro League changes and the introduction of Pick & Ban. It was a year of disruption perhaps, but with Year 4 Ubisoft is scaling down and making small tweaks on the foundations they've built.
This doesn't mean it'll be a tame year though. New Operators from plenty of exciting and unexplored areas of the world are coming to change the meta as we've come to expect, and Ubisoft is dealing with various points of community concern from friendly fire to Operator rebalancing. With smaller cells dedicated to these areas, we can expect another year for Siege that's more about polish than explosive innovations, but that's exactly what the game needs. Operation Health worked to improve the base game we've come to know and love, and Year 4 is set to strengthen that core further from players at home all the way up to the pro level.