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Over the weekend, the best Rainbow Six Siege teams in the world took to the stage at Place Bell in Montreal, Canada, to compete for a $3M USD prize pool. While the stated purpose of the Six Invitational, Rainbow Six’s annual world championship, is to crown a victor in a 16-team international tournament, the weekend had another focus beyond competition. Throughout the weekend, one word was repeated constantly by fans, special guests, commentators, teams, and Ubisoft representatives – community.
As the biggest Rainbow Six Siege event of the year, the Six Invitational has become more than just a major tournament. On Saturday, developers took over the commentary booth to talk directly with a packed stadium about new game content, improvements to existing characters and maps, and the future of the game. Sunday’s matches were interrupted by a presentation rolling out a brand new esports structure for Rainbow Six, with Ubisoft representatives again engaging with the crowd.
While new content announcements have become a standard practice for big esports events (the game’s most passionate fans are already tuned in, so it just makes sense to market to them), these reveals are usually relegated to a short video teaser with more details to be revealed at a later date. Instead, Ubisoft took time out of its biggest competition, delaying the biggest matches of each day in order to communicate with the community about how the game would be changing.
That relationship between developer and community was a common theme throughout the event. Upon entering the venue, spectators could walk through a museum-like row of displays highlighting major community figures such as lead Reddit admin Jacob “Keren” Drumgoole and cosplayer Melisse “MeruKitsune” Cordero, as well as members of the Rainbow Six development team. Throughout the weekend, these community figures were brought to the mainstage to receive an award recognizing their contributions to the community. It was perhaps the first time a Reddit moderator has ever received cheers and applause from thousands of members of the community they serve.
Fans could also attend meet-and-greets with other prominent community members, or meet the voice actors behind the game’s various Operators (the term for Rainbow Six’s playable characters).
Event sponsors CORSAIR and Acer’s performance gaming brand Predator were also onsite to engage with the community. Both brands had their logos featured prominently on the broadcast and throughout the venue, and each also operated a booth showcasing their products.
Rainbow Six Siege continues to grow year after year, having recently surpassed 55M registered players. The 2019 Six Invitational had seen a 300% increase in esports viewership. This year the event grew once again, generating 5.37M hours watched on Twitch over the full tournament compared to 3.01M in 2019. With a new structure on the horizon, continued content updates, and a focus on fostering a community relationship, Rainbow Six Siege is poised to continue its upward trajectory.
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