Saturday, 24 February 2018
Overwatch the game versus Overwatch the esport

Added: 14.02.2018 9:00 | 0 views | 0 comments

Overwatch's lineup of colourful kooks is one hell of a departure from genre norms. Valve's Team Fortress 2 had industry-leading silhouettes, but it's hard to compete with special-forces granny and company. It wasn't surprising, then, to see Overwatch bring in crowds other shooters never catered to. It turns out the people really enjoy the diverse cast Blizzard has brought to play. Overwatch near abandons the idea of the typical gravelly white guy (the one present was turned into a "tough dad" by the fandom). And while the studio has a spotty history with representing different colours and creeds, with Overwatch, Blizzard appears to be making an effort to become the frontrunner for inclusion in the triple-A games space.
It looked like the Overwatch League would run with this. Sure, there were issues from the get-go - the team distribution was, let's say, more than a little US-centric. But those were wrinkles to iron out. An esports league where you could root for local heroes, though - that's a selling point. Not only would this mimic real sports - creating a sense of camaraderie with local Overwatch fans - it would potentially bring more diversity to a scene that's traditionally homogenous. Bringing pro players together from across the globe, from all sorts of backgrounds is in theory a fantastic way to celebrate the inclusion Overwatch champions.
Unfortunately, things haven't turned out as I'd hoped. While Overwatch League teams span the globe (well, the US, with a few handouts to Europe and Asia), their lineups look more or less like any other esport's. London Spitfire have faced accusations of "snapping up" the best Korean players at the expense of local talent, while prominent European players were bought up by the Americans. The Overwatch League is supposed to be a worldwide league, but it draws from the same limited pool of regions most esports have done for years.

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