Rainbow Six Siege senior esports director: “COVID held us back”

This year has been disappointing for the esports industry. Although user engagement with games and esports has increased as a direct result of the global pandemic, tournament organisers and publishers have been forced to abandon – or drastically change – their plans. Ubisoft is one of those publishers, and a senior director of esports has admitted COVID has wreaked havoc with his plans for Rainbow Six Siege this year.

Speaking at the ESI Digital Winter event, Che Chou says COVID has put a fairly hefty dent in his plans for this year. He also mentions that not being able to have proper majors this year is a “major problem” when it comes to developing regional rivalries, storylines, and worldwide rankings.

“When I look at where we are in the three year trajectory, I do think 2020 is a bit of a wash for us,” he says. “I was not able to fulfill a lot of the goals set out for this year, mostly due to COVID. And I’ll just be honest, I think COVID held us back in terms of holding international events, and those are key to the story lines of Rainbow Six events.

“Not having Majors this year was a major problem for us because teams cannot prove who was better globally.”

This year Rainbow Six Siege Majors have been held online at a regional level, preventing the world’s best from going toe to toe. Although Ubisoft and FACEIT managed to get one live Major event off the ground last week following a two week bubble quarantine, it was still only for North American teams.

However, Chou and his team remain confident that they can build on the “strong foundations” of the Siege ecosystem in the future.

“2021 is all about how we take these learnings and apply them so we can get back to normal as safe as possible,” Chou adds. “Regionalisation still has opportunities that we haven’t explored, so we’ll really try to refine and bounce back from the challenges of 2020.”