There is a dark cloud of uncertainty hanging over the upcoming Overwatch League, forcing the competitive crowd to question the game’s future.
Not only have multiple esports organizations recently dropped rosters for the game but more are expected to do so in the coming weeks. The dilemma is based on two aspects. Firstly, Overwatch has a rather limited tournament exposure in its current state. Secondly, the Overwatch League was supposed to change that but recent rumors have essentially proven otherwise.
The alleged cost of $20 million for a franchise spot in premium locations like Los Angeles and New York means that many teams will be locked out because they must ultimately compete with established sports investment firms. To make matters worse, it has also been brought up that the Overwatch League will not support revenue-sharing plans until after four years at the minimum.
To clarify the situation, Blizzard provided the following statement to Yahoo Esports:
First, we want to be clear that our ultimate goal is to create an exciting Overwatch esports ecosystem, the pinnacle of which will be the Overwatch League, that’s accessible to a wide audience, sustainable, and rewarding for everyone involved. We’re doing our best to take great care with building this ecosystem, and as with much of what we do, we don’t release information until we’re at a place where it makes sense to do so.
Second, we’d like to dispel any rumors that we’re ignoring endemics. Anyone who knows Blizzard understands how deeply we care about the communities around our games. The league is built upon the best elements of endemic esports programs and traditional sports, and we’re in active discussions with many teams and owners from both worlds because it will take a village to stand up a league with such an unprecedented structure. Those conversations have been going well and there’s a lot of excitement around our ambitious plans.
Finally, it’s important to think twice about statements from unnamed sources, who may try to leverage the media to deliberately spread misinformation as bargaining tactics or for other competitive reasons. We look forward to officially sharing real details about the league and the ecosystem as a whole as we continue the development process. In the meantime we are staying focused on our goal of creating an awesome Overwatch esports experience for players, partners, and fans, and we want to thank everyone for their continued support.
It took only negative rumors to force Blizzard to finally release a public statement about its Overwatch League. The company is still withholding information from the community, promising to reveal everything at a later date. Without any continuous stream of updates, it is only logical for the competitive scene to make its own assumptions.
That being said, there has to be some shred of truth to the rumors. Several third-party tournament organizers have already discarded Overwatch by not asking for or renewing licenses for the game. In addition, the professional teams are going on a hiatus as well. However, Blizzard assures that negotiations with both traditional and esports teams are going fine.
Overwatch League is scheduled to commence some time later this year.