Overwatch Contenders is Blizzard's tournament series for the popular hero shooter that allows aspiring players to ascend to the Overwatch League. It consists of seven regions, some of which are home to Overwatch League Academy teams. Blizzard recently announced that it's expanding the Overwatch Contenders program to seven new countries in its upcoming competitive season. National and legal residents of Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE are now eligible to play in Overwatch Contenders, the company stated.
"Specific to this upcoming season, all Contenders teams will be restricted to a maximum of three non-resident players on their roster," a prepared statement from Blizzard reads. "This means that teams from Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates can have diverse nationalities and skillsets in their compositions. Middle East teams will have to qualify for Contenders by playing through the European Open Division then through its dedicated promotion-relegation tournament known as Contenders Trials."
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's Osh-Tekk Warriors is the first Middle East team to have qualified for the 2018 Season 3 of Contender Trials.
While Overwatch continues to be popular in markets Blizzard is traditionally strong in such as North America, South Korea, and Europe, it's interesting to see that the game has caught on in the Middle East in a massive way with a vibrant community replete with semi-professional teams and local competitions. With Overwatch Contenders expanding to the Middle East we hope that its next port of call is India and its surrounding territories, more so when you consider that the game has seen a push from the likes of Nvidia in the past.
Recently, Overwatch was in the news with the addition of a new hero Ashe. She's the 29th hero in the game and if you thought Blizzard planned on slowing down, you couldn't be further from the truth. Overwatch Production Director Chacko Sonny told Gadgets 360 that there are more in the works.
"There are five or six different hero prototypes being worked on at any given time," he said. "Some are driven by ideas like 'this would be a great addition to this class' and other times its driven by a cool sketch that we want to turn into [a hero]. I don't want to present a picture that they're all derived in the same way. The inspiration comes from many different places and there's a lot discussion at the time, figuring out what the next hero is and what's the right thing for the game at that point in time."
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