If you’re a fan of esports, particularly Australian esports, get ready to strap yourself in this Saturday at 5:30 pm. Australia and New Zealand’s top two Rainbow Six Siege teams as decided by the ANZ Invitational, Athletico and Corvidae, will be duking it out in a live studio finals for a prize of $5000, which will be watchable in all its glory on the official Rainbow Six Siege Twitch channel. The official site states Taboo as the second place team, not Athletico, so I’m not entirely sure how that happened, but the two teams on Saturday are Athletico and Corvidae. Following this, the top 8 teams from the ANZ tournament will participate in the APAC Pro League, a live event that will be held in Sydney on October 21-22. There they will be facing off against teams from Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia, as they fight to secure themselves a spot in the global Season 3 grand finals, which will take place in Sao Paulo on November 17-19. Coinciding with the tail end of the third season of top-tier Rainbow Six, a new update will be launched on August 29th: Operation Blood Orchid, which will include a free new map and three new operators. The operators will go live to Season Pass holders on August 29 and to all other players on September 5. To the best of my knowledge, new operators are usually fairly balanced and tweaks are handed out quite liberally, so it shouldn’t be a week of season pass holders destroying us plebs. I’ve long been a proponent of Rainbow Six Siege as a legitimate esport–I even see it as being potentially more successful than Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, with the right set of circumstances. Matches in R6S, in my experience, feel far more strategic and planned out than in CSGO, with the need for both an overarching strategy and on-the-fly adaption both incredibly important. Coupled with that is how well the different operators are balanced–not what I expected from a Ubisoft game–and you’ve got a recipe for a potentially very high quality esport title. What it needs now is a dedicated playerbase and viewership for top-tier matches; unfortunately, Ubisoft have shown time and time again a lack of understanding for just how esports works. This was evidenced just last week in the disastrous For Honor showcase. According to Ubisoft, Rainbow Six Siege just recently hit 20 million registered players, with 2.3 million daily players. I for one would like to see it grow into a legitimate CSGO contender, but we’ll wait and see what Ubisoft have in mind.