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Why the Overwatch League FAILED

When Overwatch was released, it was the perfect game for esports. It instantly received a massive fan base and it looked like the league was becoming one of the greatest esports scenes the world has ever seen. However, as fast as it rose up, a lot of things went wrong pretty fast. So why exactly did the Overwatch League fail?

The Rise of the Overwatch League

To understand the fall better, we have to understand how it all started. The Overwatch League started way back in 2017 trying to copy how traditional sports leagues worked. It had local teams, and live events with crowds, and the players had salaries like athletes. This event led some big names like Steve Bornstein, the Esports Chair of Blizzard and the former NFL Network CEO to view the esports space as the new frontier.

Team buyers were convinced that by 2020 the Overwatch League’s revenue reached $125 million by 2020 and they had invested a lot of money into it. Teams such as Philadelphia Fusion became very popular but things took a drastic turn.

The Fall of the Overwatch League

This fall of the Overwatch League began when Overwatch 2 was released. Fans were excited yet confused as to how a game as solid as Overwatch released a sequel and it didn’t have any major differences. In fact, some fans even despised it. This led to the Overwatch League only peaking at 51,000 viewers during the 2022 Summer Showdown. This cost franchise and team owners millions of dollars because players are not cheap.

However, it didn’t stop there. The league even switched from streaming on Twitch to going to YouTube in 2020 which made even more viewers lose interest in the scene. Then, the biggest disaster of them all hit when COVID-19 arrived. This made the once-popular live tournaments disappear and so did the hype. I mean, it wasn’t only Fortnite because it also affected League of Legends and DOTA 2 Tournaments. However, it’s safe to say it worsened the Overwatch League’s situation.

Some other factors that led to its downfall included:

  1. Activision Blizzard cases of abuse and harassment
  2. Activision Blizzard laid off 50 esports employees
  3. Imbalanced and Repetitive Overwatch 2 Gameplay
  4. The League was becoming more commercialized
  5. Esports as a whole was declining through the Pandemic

Everyone started to think that there was no more hope for the Overwatch League. Both players, developers, and fans were making negative comments. This led the league to make teams take a vote to either continue playing on their current system or get a payout and leave. Sadly, all the teams exited and the Overwatch League was finally dead.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that Overwatch Esports is over. It’s still going on. The Overwatch League, one of Esport’s most ambitious prospects was the only thing that went down. Thus, it became the biggest disaster in Esports history. Did you think the Overwatch League could have worked? Or was it destined to fall?

Written by
I am a graduate of Administration and Business Management and currently studying Computer Science with a major in Game Development as well as an avid writer that can handle several topics including finance, technology, pop culture, literature, and more. I have garnered several awards in my career as a write over the past years including 1st place in poem writing and fictional story writing. In addition, I have experience writing as a freelancer on several platforms for over 2 years as well as some experience in team management, budgeting, and graphic design. I worked as a team leader and manager in one website as well as the founder of a startup company called Collektyv whose goal is to make passions into professions.

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