The next season of Overwatch Contenders will see significant changes that are designed to give more players the opportunity to enter the fold of esports.
In a new video posted earlier today, Blizzard announced that it will be adding South America and Australia as two new regions to the development league. This follows the inclusion of North America and Europe earlier this year, expanding the total number of regions to seven next year.
In addition, existing brands in the competitive sphere will be renamed from Overwatch Apex, Overwatch Premier Series, and Overwatch Pacific Championship to Contenders Korea, Contenders China, and Contenders Pacific respectively.
Each region will feature three seasons in a year, giving players outside of the Overwatch League a platform to make their names known. This is important because the highly ambitious initiative previously raised concerns of diminishing the competition at the grass roots.
“At a minimum, the top six teams from existing tournaments (Contenders North America and Europe, APEX, Premier, and the Pacific Championship) will be invited to join their region’s Contenders for 2018,” Blizzard detailed. “The new Contenders regions, Australia and South America, will hold open qualifier tournaments to determine entry.”
There will be no region-locking but online matches for Overwatch Contenders will be only played on the regional servers. Blizzard also pointed out that its open division tournament will return in January with the same seven regions as Contenders. The first Contenders Trials tournament is scheduled for February.
More details on the improved status of Overwatch Contenders will be shared next month when the pre-season of the Overwatch League officially begins.