Overwatch esports is a very new topic within the esports community, but has already gained momentum due to popularity. The Overwatch League (OWL), which began in Janurary 2018, is partnered with Twitch and brings together twelve teams from around North America. This league has been marketed as the first major global esports league featuring franchised teams. Viewers have flocked towards it with an average of 408,000 viewers. Not only is the OWL increasing in viewership, but it has already set lofty expectations for sponsorship within esports.
However, not all Overwatch competitions are associated with Twitch or Blizzard Entertainment. There are many other events held across the world that make up the vast landscape of this game’s competitive scene. With so many different tournaments popping up everywhere, there is controversy about what tournaments should be recognized as legitimate.
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Few more Information on Overwatch Esports:-
Before the formation of the OWL, there were already several large events that provided stiff competition for viewers and fans alike. One of these was APAC 2017, an event hosted in Shanghai which featured top teams from all over Asia against one another. It was broadcast on twitch to audiences around the world, but notably excluded Twitch’s Overwatch League broadcasting partners. Hope was not lost yet though, as Blizzard would go on to provide a very generous prize pool for the end of year iteration of the Overwatch World Cup.
However, before OWL’s formation there were many tournaments that even provided stiffer competition for viewership. Back in 2016, the Overwatch Esports BEAT Invitationals hosted a tournament that featured some of the best talent from North America. It was a small two-day tournament with a prize pool not even reaching $4000, yet had over 150,000 unique viewers tune in to watch. Even before this, there was ESL’s Atlantic Showdown which featureed teams from all over the world for a chance to get into the Overwatch Open. This tournament had a larger prize pool of $100,000 and over 240,000 unique viewers tuned in to watch.
Talking about the audience of Overwatch Esports:-
Many viewers gravitate towards the Overwatch League due to its exclusive content and fast paced gameplay. Yet to put this into perspective, the highest peak viewership of a single match during the inaugural season was 437,000 while players such as League of Legends and Dota 2 peak at around 1 million.
With such an increase in viewership since the start of OWL, it is no wonder that Blizzard has expanded the league by introducing a European division. The following season of OWL will expand to include 20 teams with the same prize pool of $3.5 million dollars for each team. With this increase in viewership and interest, Overwatch Esports is becoming more of a staple within esports which will give players an incentive to play the game more competitively.
How’s Overwatch Esports community comparing other esports?
While the Overwatch league is taking over the esports community there are other teams entering to take their part in esports history. Recently, Chengdu Hunters emerged as China’s first team within the Overwatch Esport League. This marks a big step for Chinese players who have been barred from competing with other countries due to the Overwatch League being region locked. Although this has been an issue for them, the Chengdu Hunters have a very deep roster of players including Nanohana and Lateyoung who were previously from Miraculous Younger.
These examples show how much the Overwatch League is growing as a whole and influencing other teams to enter to catch up with the popularity. If viewership continues to increase, there is no doubt in my mind that the league will become even more popular. This will not only bring attention to Overwatch, but may help to legitimize it as an esport because of the revenue these teams are bringing in for them and Blizzard themselves. It is clear that esports, like many other industries, has its fair share of obstacles. The boom that Overwatch has seen is no exception, but instead of staying down, the game and its esports scene are on the rise. While some may be doubtful of upcoming seasons for OWL, I am certain that Blizzard will go through whatever means to keep this prodigy alive.
The esports industry is becoming more popular day by day, and Overwatch Esports has had a huge part of it. The team based first person shooter game was released in 2016 by blizzard entertainment has slowly just become one of the most played and streamed games in competitive tournaments around the world. With the Overwatch League holding more tournaments and viewers each day, the game is gaining even more popularity.