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Microsoft Dives Deeper Into eSports With Xbox Live Tournaments Program

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Furthering the foot space it has eked out in a sector that's dominated by PC games, Microsoft is planning to deploy an eSports foundation inside of Xbox Live. 

The new eSports component, branded "Xbox Live Tournaments," will give developers the ability to create and host their own tournaments on Xbox Live and Windows 10. 

Players will have the ability to follow tournaments, register for events and possibly even jump right into some competitive play via Xbox Live Tournaments.

The news comes fresh out of the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, where Jason Ronald, a head of Xbox's Advanced Technology Group, took the stage to share the details.

"Esports is not a new trend. It's not a new fad. It's very clearly here to stay," said Ronald. "If you're a developer that's already used to running your own tournaments, you can run your own tournaments. Everything from small, community-driven events up to large-scale pro events."

It appears, at least for now, that the eSports component won't be backward compatible with currently released games. Microsoft indicated that the first batch of games to support Xbox Live Tournaments will be released before this year comes to a close.

During the announcement on Wednesday, Microsoft revealed that it has partnering with the Electronic Sports League and FaceIt and that it's planning to announce and recruit other partners soon.

"This partnership represents a revolutionary step for the evolution of eSports, by allowing developers and publishers to gain easy and automated access to live tournaments, as well as giving them the ability to organize the logistics and handling of such," ESL told GameSpot.

A preview build of Xbox Live Tournaments program was made available on Wednesday and the ESL stated that it's thinking of collaborating with developers looking to leverage the new tool.

The toolkit and service will be launched on both Windows 10 and Xbox One as a result of Microsoft's efforts with its Universal Windows Platform, which allows the creation of apps that run on both PC and consoles.

The Xbox One doesn't yet support UWP apps, but Microsoft mentioned in the announcement that gamers should expect compatibility to roll out this summer.

With Microsoft going to GDC announcing cross-network support on Xbox One and now with these revelations of its new eSports foundation, it looks like there will finally be some proper showdowns between PC and Xbox players starting late this year.

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