Blizzard to launch Overwatch League

Speaking to American financial news outlet TheStreet.com today Activisions Blizzard's CEO, Bobby Kotick, mentioned some tantalizingly sparse details about a forthcoming Overwatch League.

The initial focus of the piece was on the possibilities for Augmented and Virtual Reality technologies, but Kotick breezed past the topic to focus on esports:

Regarding eSports, he's noticed the number of spectators of these online gaming competitions has risen to 100 million, watching what he described as "user-generated" content.

"What we're doing is creating professional content. So we're organizing around teams and leagues. You will have the Overwatch League which will have a certain number of teams. Those teams will be a combination of professional sports teams as owners and endemic sports teams as owners," Kotick explained.

People should expect to see the emergence of professional leagues, with in-person spectating, and arena events, he noted.

It has long been speculated that Blizzard would be announcing their own league or circuit for 2017, but here we have the first rumblings actually on the record. Roll on Blizzcon.

Perhaps the most curious component is his distinction between native esports teams and those owned by professional sports teams. Does it mean anything or is he simply trying to lend credibility to the esports movement? Let this simple Irish fool know in the comments.

#1
2 Frags +

I think more organizational prowess, especially in the US market cannot hurt. As far as overwatch goes, everything will be determined by viewer numbers, which so far seem kinda lowish? I know it's wrong to compare overwatch to long established games like LoL or DOTA. But for those that were around for the rise of those games and hearthstone, did they start from the 10-30K live viewer numbers OW is getting now, plus another 4-10K VOD views? I'm concerned that that's a bit low.

I think more organizational prowess, especially in the US market cannot hurt. As far as overwatch goes, everything will be determined by viewer numbers, which so far seem kinda lowish? I know it's wrong to compare overwatch to long established games like LoL or DOTA. But for those that were around for the rise of those games and hearthstone, did they start from the 10-30K live viewer numbers OW is getting now, plus another 4-10K VOD views? I'm concerned that that's a bit low.
#2
1 Frags +

I'm just excited that an in game spectator client will be available.

Also #1 LoL and DotA 2 both had developer backed tourneys right from the start. Blizzard is looking to do just that. Odds are that is going to increase viewer numbers a fair bit as the in game client will likely keep people notified of when tourny's are.

As it stands the only way to know if a tournament is being streamed is to either have knowledge of it or a website such as this. Or to just randomly tune in to one on twitch.

I'm just excited that an in game spectator client will be available.

Also #1 LoL and DotA 2 both had developer backed tourneys right from the start. Blizzard is looking to do just that. Odds are that is going to increase viewer numbers a fair bit as the in game client will likely keep people notified of when tourny's are.

As it stands the only way to know if a tournament is being streamed is to either have knowledge of it or a website such as this. Or to just randomly tune in to one on twitch.
#3
0 Frags +

I took in-person spectating to mean live events rather than a spectating client?

I took in-person spectating to mean live events rather than a spectating client?
#4
2 Frags +

In any case in client tournament promotion would be huge.

In any case in client tournament promotion would be huge.
#5
0 Frags +

Blizzard wanted some other Tournament to lower their pricepool.
Therefore i think their tournament will gonna be huge.

Blizzard wanted some other Tournament to lower their pricepool.
Therefore i think their tournament will gonna be huge.
#6
6 Frags +

The thing is Overwatch is massive, but it suffers from the problem that TF2 does where only a small percentage of the player base actually care about the pro scene enough to watch the games and follow teams. Putting big events in the client would be massive in getting the average casual viewer interested and I think this is probably the next step Blizzard will take in order for the comp scene to grow.

The thing is Overwatch is massive, but it suffers from the problem that TF2 does where only a small percentage of the player base actually care about the pro scene enough to watch the games and follow teams. Putting big events in the client would be massive in getting the average casual viewer interested and I think this is probably the next step Blizzard will take in order for the comp scene to grow.
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