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Overwatch League: A Huge Leap For E-sports

By Sági Marci - January 23, 2018 - tags: gaming

I was always a fan of E-sports, so when I first heard of the Overwatch League, it got me very excited. This if probably largest ever undertaking related to video games.

In 2016, during their yearly conference, Blizzcon, Blizzard Entertainment announced a plan, that would change how E-sport is viewed. Overwatch League offers professional Overwatch players a chance to focus on competition, while being financially secured. Players receive a minimum of $50,000 yearly revenue, along with retirement and health benefits, support for housing and training and a monetary prize based on how they finish the season.

There are currently 12 teams competing. 9 from The US, 1 from South Korea, 1 from The UK and 1 from China. The teams are divided into 2 divisions: Pacific and Atlantic, based on their location. The matches are played in the Blizzard Arena, an establishment Blizzard Entertainment uses for their E-sport events. There are plans for more arenas around the areas teams are based on geographically. This way the League could have home and away teams just like in regular sports. All matches are also broadcast online and can be watched for free.

The first season has just started. In December 2017 the Preseason took place, during which all 12 teams played exhibition matches. The Regular Season started on January 10 2018 and lasts until June 16. The Regular Season is played out in 4 stages and at the end of each stage, the top teams will compete for the title of stage winner and some bonuses. The Postseason runs between June 17 and July 28. The top finishers from both divisions will play in the championship playoffs between July 11-22. The grand final will be played on July 26-28. The winner team takes the trophy and the grand prize of $1,000,000. To relax after the finals, the All-star Weekend (Aug 10-12) takes place. During this time, the community’s favourite players compete in show matches.

I will be looking forward to how the League works long term. If it’s successfull, similar leagues might open for other E-sport titles making it as accepted as NFL or NBA.