Blizzard Unveils New E-Sports Overwatch League at BlizzCon 2016

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Blizzard Unveils New E-Sports Overwatch League at BlizzCon 2016
Highlights
  • The Overwatch League is Blizzard's attempt to make e-sports acceptable
  • The Overwatch League will take place from next year
  • It is unlikely that India will be a part of it

A new hero for Overwatch in Sombra wasn’t the only announcement for Blizzard’s first-person shooter. At BlizzCon 2016 the company unveiled the Overwatch League.

According to Blizzard CEO and President Mike Morhaime, the Overwatch League “represents a true next-generation e-sports experience.”

Players would be evaluated during tryouts by team owners. There would be regular schedules, professional contracts, free agency, and a baseline salary for players.

(Also see:  Blizzard Announces New Overwatch Character Sombra at BlizzCon 2016)

“The Overwatch League represents not only the pinnacle of Overwatch competition, but also a genuine career opportunity for the most skilled Overwatch players,” said Morhaime. “We’re building a league that’s accessible to players and fans, sustainable, and exciting for everyone involved.”

In elaborating this it was obvious that the Overwatch League would ideally like to possess a greater degree of structure and stability versus what most e-sports leagues are seen as - fickle and lacking in transparency.

The Overwatch League’s maiden season will take place next year. Play well enough and you might be invited to join teams. In taking such a hands-on approach to Overwatch’s e-sports potential, it seems that Blizzard wants to build the EPL or IPL of Overwatch.

(Also see:  The State of E-Sports in India: Untapped Potential but It Doesn't Have to Be)

Right now, there is no clarity if the Overwatch League would be making it to India in its first year. Considering that Blizzard has a local distributor but chose not to release Diablo 3: Ultimate Edition or Overwatch officially makes the nation’s prospects seem unlikely at this stage. That hasn't stopped other companies from cashing in on its popularity though.

For what it’s worth, we found Overwatch to be one of the year’s best games. There are various heroes to choose from, near perfect gameplay, and the promise of extended support and free content, most of which Blizzard has made good on so far.

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Rishi Alwani Rishi writes about video games and tech. Legend has it he bleeds pixels. More
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