“Overwatch” is a surprise hit first person shooter that has taken the competitive and eSports scene by storm. The game is 100 percent multiplayer focused, and a clear sign of where the gaming industry is going.
Just recently, Activision announces that the first seven teams now have owners. The Overwatch League, according to what it is called, will launch on an unspecified date this year. Furthermore, all teams will come from major cities around the world.
30 million players
“Overwatch” in its current form, is home to over 30 million players from around the world. That’s quite impressive for a game that was released back in 2016 on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
“Overwatch already connects over 30 million players worldwide. The Overwatch League will celebrate and reward our most accomplished players and give fans more opportunities to engage with each other,” said Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. “We’re excited to be working with leaders from esports and traditional sports to celebrate our players and to establish the Overwatch League.”
Several games have come along with the sole purpose of competing with “Overwatch,” but none has managed to deliver quality competition. As it stands right now, “Overwatch” is in a league all to itself, but anything can change as more developers realize the amount of money being made.
NBA, NFL, and MLB owners step to the challenge
When it comes down to owning teams, millionaires tend to invest money in Football, Basketball, and Baseball. However, with the immense popularity of “Overwatch” and the possible popularity of the Overwatch League, these guys have decided to take a serious look at eSports.
Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, and Jeff Wilpon, chief operating officer of the New York Mets, have both agreed to be involved with the league. The men will own teams from Boston and New York respectively, according to Activision Blizzard in a recent press release.
In terms of Andy Miller, the co-owner of the Sacramento Kings, he’ll own the team based in San Francisco.
Full list of team owners according to Activision
- Robert Kraft, Chairman, and CEO of the Kraft Group and the New England Patriots (Boston)
- Jeff Wilpon, Co-Founder, and Partner of Sterling.VC and COO of the New York Mets (New York)
- Noah Whinston, CEO of Immortals (Los Angeles)
- Ben Spoont, CEO, and Co-Founder of Misfits Gaming (Miami-Orlando)
- Andy Miller, Chairman, and Founder of NRG Esports (San Francisco)
- NetEase (Shanghai)
- Kevin Chou, Co-Founder of Kabam (Seoul)
The interesting thing about the Overwatch League is the fact that it’s the first eSports league to be built in similar ways to a traditional professional league due to each team being attached to a city.
If things continue down this path, chances are, eSports could finally gain the huge break it needs to stay relevant. It’s not yet a billion dollar industry, but this could change in the coming years as industry pundits believe eSports will earn more than $700 million by the year 2020.
It should be noted that ESPN is also interested in eSports, and will no doubt air matches on a regular basis. This should put into perspective how popular the sport is becoming, and why Activision Blizzard is pumping a lot of money into it.
Who knows, eSports may one day have its own stage at the Olympics before long.