Drama is afoot in the competitive Overwatch world. In fact, the drama is so bad that multiple esports outfits are dumping support for Overwatch and all relevant teams and players, entirely. By multiple, I mean four all within a week.
The reason seems to be largely financial. There are a lot of inside-baseball details, particularly with what seem to be a level of cost associated with participating in Blizzard’s official Overwatch League program. Blizzard appears to be courting real-life sports team owners, which means millions of dollars floating around, which means a lot more money than normal esports organizations are able to drop on one game.
Additionally, Overwatch is not nearly as popular in Europe as it is in the US, meaning at least one of the cancelled teams dropped out due to sustainability issues. It will be difficult enough for such high entry barriers to make any money at the end. Blizzard appears to be looking ahead, but so far ahead the smaller teams can’t keep up, especially with comparatively low prize pools.
This isn’t the first example of bigger sports owners looking into esports. The upcoming NBA-sanctioned NBA 2K organization has an insane amount of money and real-life sports personalities involved. But with more insular games like Overwatch, could reaching for that level on unproven ground end up bursting the bubble before it can even blow up? We’ll see.