The Halo Championship Series (HCS) announced today that next month’s Anaheim event would not allow spectators in the venue, and online qualifiers shall determine half the field.
Competitive Halo is booming less than a month following the ultra-successful HCS Raleigh Kickoff Major. The first offline event of Halo Infinite pulled record viewership and participation one month into the game’s life. It seemed everything was in place for a successful follow-up event in Anaheim, California.
DreamHack planned to host its first in-person festival in February 2022, with COVID-19 vaccinations rising. Unfortunately, due to what the company called “hosting difficulties,” organizers canceled the event. While it was a less-than-ideal outcome, DreamHack planned to move forward with the originally scheduled HCS competition.
Today, the HCS announced that the tournament would proceed, but resurfaced COVID-19 concerns have changed plans significantly.
HCS Anaheim Disallows In-Person Spectators
— Halo Esports #HCS (@HCS) January 8, 2022
The official HCS League Twitter account released a statement regarding the status of DreamHack Anaheim in February:
“Due to the rapidly changing environment around COVID-19 and the rising number of cases, we will be changing the upcoming Anaheim Regional Championship to no longer include spectators and the open bracket will now take place online ahead of the tournament to determine the in-person teams. In order to ensure a competitive tournament that is inclusive of the broader community, we will instead be hosting an online qualifier to find the remaining 8 teams that will join the top 8 teams from the HCS Kickoff Major Raleigh 2021.”
It seemed this would be the inevitable outcome, considering COVID-19’s presence in the United States. According to the New York Times, California reported more than 84K cases as of January 6. The HCS had to decide in the best interest of potential attendees.
Sadly, this news means the electricity fans witnessed at HCS Raleigh will take a hit. League operators have chosen to host online qualifiers as well. While we can expect to see top teams such as two-time winners Cloud9 and Sentinels, the remaining eight teams will be determined sometime between now and February.
The HCS plans to release more details regarding the qualifiers on January 14, so check back with ESTNN for the latest.
Feature Image: DreamHack