Overwatch League Officially Ending as Blizzard Focuses on ‘New Direction’

Six years after its glitzy launch, Blizzard’s grand experiment seems to be over. Blizzard has confirmed in an announcement to IGN that it’s “transitioning from the Overwatch League,” seemingly spelling the top for the competitors as soon as billed as the way forward for esports.

“We are transitioning from the Overwatch League and evolving aggressive Overwatch in a brand new course,” an Activision Blizzard spokesperson advised IGN. “We are grateful to everybody who made OWL attainable and stay centered on constructing our imaginative and prescient of a revitalized esports program. We are excited to share particulars with you all within the close to future.”

England fans watch a match between the London Spitfire and Houston Outlaws in 2019. Photo credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images
England followers watch a match between the London Spitfire and Houston Outlaws in 2019. Photo credit score: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Blizzard’s assertion follows earlier experiences of a vote that may decide the league’s destiny on the finish of the season, which wrapped on October 1 with a Grand Finals that Kotaku described as “beautiful and depressing.” Teams got a possibility to signal on to an up to date function settlement, with a money payout of $6 million for groups that opted to not proceed. Activision Blizzard has beforehand famous that Overwatch League income contains lower than 1 % of the businesses web revenues.

The finish of the Overwatch League would not necessarilly imply the top of aggressive Overwatch. Overwatch League commissioner Sean Miller has beforehand stated that Blizzard stays “dedicated to a aggressive ecosystem in 2024 and past,” no matter that finally appears to be like like.

In the meantime, the Toronto Defiant are paying tribute to the OWL in their very own, considerably unconventional, method.

It wasn’t meant to be this manner. Six years in the past, Blizzard trumpeted the Overwatch League as a daring new effort within the burgeoning esports scene. Teams had been tied to particular person cities, and shopping for a franchise price a cool $20 million. Overwatch was among the many hottest video games on this planet following its large debut in 2016, resulting in unprecedented pleasure for the Overwatch League.

In 2018 we debated whether or not Overwatch League would succeed or fail, pointing to investments just like the $90 million funding with Twitch whereas additionally noting that Overwatch is not one of the best esport to observe. In the years since, Overwatch’s recognition has pale amid numerous controversies and the combined success of its sequel, Overwatch 2.

Now the decision is in: It had its moments and its share of passionate supporters, however the Overwatch League was by no means capable of match Activision Blizzard’s lofty expectations for the competitors.

It’s been a tricky time for esports normally over the previous yr, with one Valorant workforce proprietor calling it “one of many worst issues you may get into” again in June. Lofty viewership has not translated to robust income, and with funding steadily drying up, many homeowners are discovering themselves closely within the pink.

Who is aware of the place Blizzard, and esports normally, will go from right here. But if nothing else, the Overwatch League was actually enjoyable whereas it lasted.

Blogroll photograph credit score: Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Kat Bailey is IGN’s News Director as nicely as co-host of Nintendo Voice Chat. Have a tip? Send her a DM at @the_katbot.

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