Is the Overwatch competitive scene dying?
In only the past 15 days, 3 fairly large Overwatch teams have decided to drop their competitive rosters. This follows the consistent theme of organisations hesitating to invest in Blizzard’s popular shooter game, many of which did previously invest, wish to pull out. Throughout the year, orgs have been dropping out slowly, and fairly subtly, however this short burst of 3 teams pulling out in only 2 weeks is something of grave concern. It likely signals there may soon be a boycott of the competitive Overwatch scene until Blizzard addresses their issues, which multiple teams have brought up over the past couple of months in their departure statements.
Teams / the organisations sponsoring them, have been long complaining that Blizzard has failed to pay enough attention to their competitive scenes, especially Overwatch. They have stated that there is not enough funding, proper structure and an overall lack of interest and focus on Blizzard’s part. While Blizzard early last year pleaded teams to invest in the competitive scene and assured them of a stable environment along with strong focus from their part, they failed to do so.
Recent teams leaving
Earliest of the 3 teams, Ninjas in Pyjamas announced late June that they would be renouncing their support of the Overwatch scene. The organisation mentioned that while the roster they had signed initially had very good potential, NiP stated that “the scene has failed to evolve” to be sustainable for investors, which they reiterated concerned a number of teams, not only theirs. This not only puts blame on Blizzard for their decision to discontinue investment, but is also somewhat passive aggressive due to the mention of potentially having more teams abandon the scene.
NiP: ”Today we announce that we will be joining the growing list of organizations placing Overwatch as one of the titles to observe but not to be involved in, given the uncertainties of the scene.”
Evil Geniuses recently announced that they would be parting ways with their Overwatch roster too. While they had publicly stated that the parting was due to the org and roster wanting to go their separate ways mutually, you have to think, is this really the reason? EG mentioned that they are still interested in the scene, but have yet to sign another competitive roster. It is fairly obvious that they do not wish to damage their relationship with Blizzard, while maintaining a position which does not result in financial loss, which is fairly common with teams in competitive Overwatch.
EG: “As a team, Evil Geniuses would like to stress that this is not the end of our interest in competitive Overwatch, and we will be looking on to how the scene continues to develop.”
Team LCDC is the latest team to abandon the scene. While they did mention their poor result at the Overwatch contenders as being a factor for dropping the roster, LCDC directly blamed Blizzard for their decision in departing the scene. They mention that Blizzard’s previous management of the scene is extremely poor and has done worse for the scene than good, an extremely harsh statement on LCDC’s part.