Reports have surfaced that the Call of Duty League might turn to a NBA-like ‘bubble’ system for the 2021 season, and one of the faces of the esport – Chicago Huntsmen’s Seth ‘Scump’ Abner – isn’t too fond of the news.
The competitive Call of Duty community was in for a twist on September 21 when The Esports Observer, based on information from multiple sources, reported that the Call of Duty League has “asked owners to consider having the 2021 season played from a central location in a bubble-type environment.”
Fans of the NBA will recognize this as the same system the league used for the conclusion of the 2020 regular season and the entire Playoffs, separating players from the outside world to eliminate risks of the ongoing health crisis affecting teams and matches.
If this were to be the case for CoD esports, then the CDL would essentially host all of their Home Series events and the postseason in an isolated location, with Las Vegas and Dallas reportedly among the cities that were mentioned.
This would probably be the safest way to address all of the internet-related concerns from the 2020 campaign. About a third into the season, the CDL decided to shift everything to be played online, but connection inconsistencies and server issues created problems at several tournaments and drew backlash from most pro players.
This got even worse during the Playoffs when players like OpTic Gaming LA’s Kenny ‘Kuavo’ Williams and London Royal Ravens’ Trei ‘Zer0’ Morris kept getting booted offline, which ultimately led the league to play postseason matches off-stream and later broadcast them with a huge delay.
However, despite all of the uproar the 2020 switch to online caused, not everyone seems to be convinced that this NBA-like bubble system is the best answer. Hearing the news while streaming, Scump had this to say about the report.
“I don’t want a bubble!” the legendary CoD pro said. “What am I going to do about my dog, my cats, my girlfriend? A bubble?! Who are we, the f**king NBA – what do you mean a bubble?
I would rather play online than in a bubble somewhere. I’d rather play everything online. What? I’m texting Hector [H3CZ] right now – terminate my s**t now!”
Activision, who owns and runs the CDL, has not yet commented on The Esports Observer’s report, although Toronto Ultra General Manager Dominique Gelineau seemed to suggest that it was untrue, in a tweet.
Some of these rumours are getting a bit absurd…
— Dominique Gelineau (@Wi5dom12) September 21, 2020
This isn’t the first time that the idea of the CDL using a bubble has popped up: prior to the start of the Playoffs, many in the industry suggested the idea before the league announced that the entire postseason would remain online.
Adam Apicella, formerly of MLG and Activision Blizzard, calculated that such an operation could cost at least $7 million, not counting the cost of a full-time medical staff, security at the venue and hotels, insurance, and the tournament’s prize pool itself.
That was just for Champs; of course, running a full regular-season and postseason in such a system would likely cost exponentially more, so there are still a lot of moving parts to consider before these reports become reality.
We will continue updating this story as it develops and more information is made available.