Is Overwatch Dead? Not Yet But Surely It Will, Here'S Why


The recent string of news has led lớn quite an exodus in sponsors for the Overwatch League. What has started out as" shining new star is now a smoking wrechồng.

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Are you an Overwatch fan? Then you are a rare survivor of a steady decline over the years. With recent news that downward trajectory has now turned into lớn a straight dive off a steep cliff.

Taking center stage on release

Imagine you could travel baông xã in time khổng lồ năm nhâm thìn, back khổng lồ when Overwatch was just released & became a rising star. Millions of players signed up for the new Blizzard game that promised lớn be the successor to lớn Team Fortress 2.

Baông xã in năm 2016 Overwatch was simply the game khổng lồ play | Image Credits: Blizzard

In the early days of Overwatch it seemed like everything came together perfectly: A fresh take on the genre và a varied cast of interesting characters to lớn play. Together with Blizzard’s pedigree it came khổng lồ little surprise that many players jumped on board of the hype train.

So when roughly half a year after release first talks of an Overwatch League appeared it seemed lượt thích a natural development that could result in the next big esport title besides the established ones.

A rough awakening

A franchise league requiring multi-million dollar buy-ins right off the bat should have sầu raised eyebrows, but players, fans and investors alượt thích decided to lớn believe sầu that Blizzard could vị no wrong. The hype & glitter of the game brought in investors & many others that have never been part of the world.

While the initial season of the Overwatch League did okay, it was far from the ground-shattering tournament series that Blizzard và many investors, players and fans had hoped it to be.

London Spitfire were the inaugural Overwatch League Champions in 2018 | Image Credits: Blizzard

It was no revolution of the industry và far from a justification for the several hundred millions of Dollars invested inlớn the project to kickstart it.

The game itself also started to lớn show cracks under the strain of expectations. The developers could not keep up with the meta in their balancing efforts over the years. Especially as more heroes joined the fray or exisiting ones were massively reworked.

The GOATS meta in 2018 marked the low point of the game’s state of balance after Mercy had already terrorized the players beforehand. The playerbase declined further và further from the highs of its release.

Overwatch 2’s announcement results in a nội dung draught

To combat the trend Blizzard then announced Overwatch 2 at BlizzCon in 2019. But the reaction was more scrutiny than enthusiasm. On closer examination the sequel looked lượt thích an expansion pack el. While Blizzard has promised that all Overwatch players will get access to lớn the new nội dung (besides the exclusive sầu Single Player Campaign) the announcement also meant the over of regular updates for Overwatch.

Echo was the last addition khổng lồ the Overwatch roster | Image Credits: Blizzard

A devastating development for a community that grew accustomed lớn three new heroes per year và new maps every couple of months. The last new additions were Eđến, 2020’s sole hero release & Kanezaka in January, a Deathmatch-only maps.


2020’s thin nội dung updates came coupled with two more devastating developments for Overwatch:COVID-19 and VALORANT.

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Let’s talk about the pandemic first. Overwatch struggled massively lớn keep its competitive circuit running. The OWL went off-air for a couple weeks và proceeded lớn only come bachồng in an altered format, which could never quite replace the Homestvà events that made the OWL stand out.

VALORANT’s beta và subsequent release were perfectly timed khổng lồ worsen Overwatch’s situation.

VALORANT arrived with a bang in 20đôi mươi | Image Credits: Riot

Eerily familiar to lớn 2016’s Overwatch, VALORANT took over Twitch & built a svào player base in record time. For many Overwatch players the temptation lớn switch over to a new and more vibrant game became irresistable. Even the very best of the game lượt thích Jay “sinatraa” Won ditched Overwatch to seek greener pastures.

Declining Viewership

Unsurprisingly 2020 left its mark as a steep decline in viewership for the Overwatch League. According to lớn 10kiem.vncharts the third season’s grvà finals showed a shocking confirmation of the downward trend in peak viewers ever since the first season. The 2018 edition had 349,000 viewers tuning in to lớn see London Spitfire take the victory. But for San Francisco Shock’s second title in 20trăng tròn only 183,000 fans bothered khổng lồ open the stream.

Just in case you"ve sầu ever wondered why the Overwatch League started using the AMA metric, it should become clear after looking at these three images. The first two compare the numbers from the past two playoff events. The third is today"s headline.

— Richard Lewis (
RLewisReports) October 13, 2020

This all brings us to lớn the current state of Overwatch in 2021. A game languishing in limbo without significant updates & a dwindling playerbase. But it gets even worse as the pro scene is rapidly getting hammered by the repercussions of the ongoing sexism scandal at Activision Blizzard. Since the news broke more & more sponsors are pulling out of the OWL.

State Farm, Coca Cola, Kellogg’s, Pringles, Cheez It, & other sponsors have either stepped back or are reconsidering their partnerships with the Overwatch League

Expect others khổng lồ announce soon

— Jake Lucky (
JakeSucky) August 7, 2021

There is even more financial damage at the horizon for the OWL as the US Department of Justice’s antitrust investigation is still underway with potentially devastating consequences.

But what about Overwatch 2?

If Blizzard manages lớn launch a phenomenal game they could conceivably save the struggling franchise. But that is looking very unlikely.

Case in point was Jeff Kaplan’s exit from Blizzard earlier this year in April. There is something fundamentally wrong when your Game Director leaves before his product is even released.

Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan leaves Blizzard:

— Kotaku (
Kotaku) April 20, 2021

Reports of Overwatch 2 being delayed to lớn 2023 only serve sầu lớn confirm this impression. Overwatch 2 has entered development hell. Can Overwatch survive sầu until then?

The player interest has never been lower than now & there is no sign of new nội dung coming anytime soon. The much heralded esport scene is treading water as it releases academy teams, on-air talent và more khổng lồ cut costs.

To no one’s surprise the rumours of the delay for Overwatch 2 immediately sparked speculation about the future of the OWL, to which the Vice President of the league felt obliged lớn take khổng lồ Twitter to lớn deny them.

It’s really not practical khổng lồ respond to lớn every rumor about our future plans, but in this case this story is inaccurate. We have not phối nor communicated dates about our 2022 season yet but vày not plan to take a ‘year-long hiatus’ in any scenario we are considering currently.

— Jon Spector (
Spex_J) August 11, 2021

Unless Activision Blizzard can somehow replicate the hype of the launch in năm 2016 there is no hope left for Overwatch. Considering Blizzard’s recent traông chồng record, that seems increasingly unlikely.

As it stands now Overwatch serves as a cautionary tale on how abhorrent mismanagement can kill a franchise that had every foundation to lớn succeed.

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Overwatch is dead, this time for good.

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