Activision Blizzard has confirmed the end of the overwatch league, its huge bet to capitalize on the rise of esports with an NFL-style franchise system. Going to supposedly pay The 20 teams involved $120 million as they all quietly part ways from what was supposedly a financial debacle, despite its cultural impact for fans of Supervision and beyond.
“We are moving from Supervision League and competitive Overwatch evolving in a new direction,” an Activision Blizzard spokesperson wrote in a statement. “We are grateful to everyone who made OWL possible and remain focused on building our vision of a revitalized esports program. “We are excited to share details with all of you in the near future.”
OWL was originally released in 2017 , the year after the popular class-based hero shooter became Blizzard’s last big multiplayer hit. Twelve founding teams purchased for $20 million each in the inaugural season, followed by eight more teams later for $35 to $60 million each. Each team was supposed to be based in a city and build its own esports stadium, but the 2020 pandemic ruined things, as did the difficulty in monetizing matches that fans could stream online for free.
Read more: The Overwatch League as we know it is dead
Jacob Wolf reported on OWL’s upcoming dissolution last week added that Activision Blizzard was in talks with Saudi Arabian state-owned ESL group FACEIT to continue Overwatch esports in an open-loop format followed by most others. competitive games. This would allow greater flexibility for teams to play in tournaments as scheduled, rather than committing to weekly matches culminating in season playoffs.
Bloomberg detailed the league’s financial problems last year, reporting projected revenue goals of $125 million in 2020 from live events, sponsorships and merchandising deals that never materialized. Despite passionate fans and underlying gameplay momentum, OWL buckled under the weight of Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick’s lofty ambitions. An investigation by the US Department of Justice ultimately resulted in a fine and settlement on illegal salary caps for players.
Fans have known this moment was coming for a while. Activision Blizzard fired 50 people from its esports department earlier this year. It seemed unlikely that Microsoft would invest even more money in OWL after its $69 billion acquisition was finalized last month. 2023 Supervision The League Grand Finals “were beautiful and depressing” wrote kotaku senior editor, Alyssa Mercante.
OWL fans are now left with at least one parting gift thanks to the Toronto Defiant. Team owner Adam Adamou marked the dissolution of the league on social media today with an AI-generated post showing two Supervision players walking into the sunset amidst the rubble. In the lower left corner you can see a circumcised penis sticking out of the trash.