Blizzard Confident That Overwatch League Will Set New Esports Standards

By   /   Jul 3, 2017
Overwatch

The company continues to sing songs of praise for the upcoming Overwatch League, assuring that it will be everything that we expect it to be.

Speaking with Dot Esports last week, senior vice president Mike Sepso noted that the vibrant team-based online shooter is built around esports. In that light, the Overwatch League is designed to set new industry standards for esports that will ultimately help to accelerate growth and accessibility.

“It’s a very new model,” said Sepso said. “We’ve borrowed a lot from traditional sports, but we’ve also retained a lot of the important attributes of the way that esports has grown over the last 15-plus years. I think one of the key elements of it is that it’ll be more accessible and recognizable to not just fans of traditional sports, but also all of the key constituencies that make professional sports the biggest and most important thing in the media landscape.”

The only problem is that the community is yet to see first hand what those plans really are. Blizzard has been picky about revealing any concrete details about the Overwatch League, ever since it dropped the announcement last year.

Scheduled for inauguration in the coming months, we just know that it is based on creating franchises inside major cities. Slots will be incredibly expensive to get hold off, with past reports suggesting as high as $15 million for larger markets. While this has attracted investors with big pockets, it has also sidelined several professional teams that cannot expect to match the bids.

“When people have been fully walked through the design of the Overwatch League system from the traditional sports world, they generally have a sign of relief, that, okay, this is kind of the future of where this whole thing is heading,” said Sepso on the topic of outside investors. “This kind of a professional league has never happened in esports before, but [these] big organizing principles are very recognizable to executives from the traditional sporting world.”

Multiple esports organizations have already dropped Overwatch from their rosters in the past months, with many more following suit since then. In May, Blizzard responded to the negativity and fears by stating that it cares about the community as a whole. Unfortunately, its assurance of a sustainable and rewarding esports setup for the game bounced off because of the unavailability of any details.

Blizzard already has a history of producing some of the most important titles in the history of esports. There is StarCraft, which enjoyed a golden era in the past decades, and Warcraft, which went on to take the genre of battle arenas by the reigns. In the case of Overwatch, the developer hopes to raise the bar and usher everyone into a new age of competitive video games. However, it is hard to share that excitement without knowing how the league plans to do just that.

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