Opinion

Overwatch League continues to struggle. Is change to come?

The game has lost another million viewers in April

Blizzard hasn’t hesitated in pushing their brand new Overwatch League down people’s throats since its launch at the start of this year.

Titled boldly as the “future of esports” by Business Insider in January, the California-based competition hasn’t disappointed us pessimists by dropping a staggering 1.1 million view in April. OWL averaged a painful 133,000 concurrent viewers across three Twitch channels for the week of the 9th of April. It seems the beginning of a deep and dark descent for the league has begun.

Anyone remember TF2 anymore?

Perhaps a consequence of the chosen game to broadcast, it becomes more and more apparent week by week that the game may be turning into a shinier clone of Team Fortress 2, a game which seems all but forgotten at this stage. Whether it is the number of players on each team, the fast respawn times, the shape of the map, or the complexity and depth of the game, no publisher or broadcaster has yet cracked the code of what can make a successful esport.

The pursuit of success

Blizzard hasn’t relented in pursuing success, however, not only by adding massive investment in the setup of the league, and constant attempts at refining the spectate mode. But, even still, it is evident they are struggling to force their way as one of the big esports. With a state-of-the-art arena, polished broadcast, and world-class talent, it’s hard to find fault in their production week by week. This points me in only one direction for what needs to change…

The game.

In my opinion, it’s flawed, broken, unsustainable, and set up as the perfect money drain for Blizzard. Teams of six must go, the respawn system revamped, and the game modes adjusted to be more exciting and dramatic for the declining viewers. Blizzard must take advantage of their position and quite literally copy what works and adapt their game to fit.

Good artists copy; great artists steal.

– Pablo Picasso

Thinking about League of Legends

Quite arguably, the most popular esport to date, League of Legends, is often labelled as a carbon copy of the forever famous original DoTA mods for Warcraft III. A game that was in smaller scale position to what Blizzard faces now. Riot Games took a complicated, frankly, hideous game, and made it playable. More importantly, they made it watchable for the masses.

If you don’t have the Warcraft III experience to relate to, just think PUBG or Fortnite. Many argue the same game, but a few key innovations and game-wide clean-ups transformed strong mediocre successes into unforgettable mammoths.

Hope for the future of Overwatch League

Hopefully, we can see some changes from Blizzard to help revive their attempt at the “future of esports”. Especially as all of the elements outside of a solid game are calling for its success.

Do you think Blizzard has the nerve to make the desperately necessary change?

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