“Right now, there’s a feeling that a lot of the senior management just don’t understand esports,” another source close to the situation said, “but there is no room for negotiating with these people. They are convinced their vision, which is more in line with televised sports, is the right way to go and it has just made people miserable.”
Nahh c'mon man, just 'cause:
You killed 2017's competitive scenes to create hype for your league.
You decided to structure your league like the NBA (no relegation, no promotion, just buy to play).
You decided you had to absolutely sell your produ..erm league to the TV networks.
You still prevent every medium/big sized non OWL affiliated org to run its tournaments.
Now imagine a world in which, the bottom 3 teams at the end of a season were relegated to Contenders and the top 3 Contenders' ones were promoted to OWL (after cross-regional playoffs).
A world in which you could watch high level competitive matches every single weekend of the year (e.g. ESL 1 Birmingham not even a Dota 2 Major, had more viewers than the latest OWL matches) and on different timezones, sometimes even at the same time (outrageous!!).
I could also add, the fact the game is pay to play + lootboxes (atm is still at 20 Euros) doesn't lead to a constant growth of your esport, but that's a VERY personal point of view.
This mega company is running out of opportunities. I think owl could have been way bigger. You don't kill off your competitive scene. It is a breeding ground for skill and intrest. Just like korea was a breeding ground for skill given the sheer number of competitive players in close proximity.
Also screw sportsball models. The whole point of video games, programming, and computer systems is that you remove many limits of reality. If they developed a world cup viewer style client with options for announcers and with ads (tastefully) that would have helped.
Right now activision is losing. Literally their best product is classic wow in terms of actual quality gameplay mechanics. In terms of money well the pay to win bill might crush them. Cod is dying even though the last iteration was fun it was killed trying to ride the battle royale train and adding monitization. There are a ton of other examples of games that are in trouble. Overwatch actually touched greatness but when it was time to step up and hit the next level of gaming that everyone wants it just foundered. It's clear that the gameplay experience was falling behind with a poor system of balancing (using new characters). Combine that with owl killing off many interesting and exciting competitive scenes and the competitive ladder itself being somewhat stressful. Players have less excitement near the top end and they could have had it for free if blizzard just let 3rd parties have an existence.