Publisher and developer Activision Blizzard, in a statement to the press, confirmed what everyone had been guessing for the past months: the Overwatch esports league in its current form is dead. Lack of viewer interest and declining revenue have led to the need for significant changes in the Overwatch League (OWL). At the end of the 2023 season, teams were asked to vote on whether to remain in the league, a clear indication of instability and dissatisfaction with the current state of the league.
In early October, with the conclusion of the Overwatch League 2023 season, the league’s official account announced that they would now “focus on establishing a vision for a revamped esports program.” This announcement caused some concern among fans and members who were expecting specific plans and updates but were not given details.
Activision Blizzard shuts down Overwatch League esports
Now, in a statement, a representative of Activision Blizzard, in a conversation with IGN and other specialized portals, revealed some details: “We are moving away from the Overwatch League and developing the competitive component of Overwatch in a new direction.” This indicates that the company has decided to change its approach to the development of the e-sports component of the game and, possibly, shift the focus to other competition formats.
Despite abandoning the Overwatch League, Activision Blizzard expressed gratitude to everyone who made OWL a reality and confirmed that they remain focused on building a revamped esports program. They promise to share details in the near future, which is generating interest and some anticipation among the Overwatch community.
According to rumors, the new operator of Overwatch esports competitions may be a third-party organization, ESL FACEIT Group, which will organize and conduct competitions instead of Major League Gaming, owned by Activision Blizzard. This may lead to changes in the structure and format of competitions, as well as impact Overwatch teams, players and fans.
The Overwatch League launched in 2018 and operated on the model of traditional North American professional sports leagues, attracting the attention of both fans of the game and a wide audience of spectators. It has become one of the largest and most significant eSports leagues, but has faced a number of challenges over the years, including low viewer interest and financial difficulties.