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Archive • Feb 08, 2018

The Overwatch League Arena Has a Sign Language Interpreter for Deaf Fans

The Overwatch League seems to have hired a sign-language interpreter for the benefit of deaf arena attendees. Blizzard’s desire for Overwatch to be inclusive couldn’t be clearer – from its war on toxicity to the game’s diverse roster of heroes, which features characters of myriad gender, race, sexuality, and even a hero with autism.

It’s no surprise, then, that the commitment extends to the Overwatch League. In the latest manifestation of Blizzard’s pursuit of inclusivity, it seems they’ve hired a sign-language interpreter to relay the commentary to deaf fans in the arena’s audience. It might not be a major detail in the grand scheme of things – maybe a handful of fans might benefit from it over the course of the season – but for those that do it’s sure to mean a lot, and it’s yet another indicator of the type of league that Blizzard want to run. Somewhat bizarrely, the Overwatch League has faced quite a bit of criticism since its launch over topics of diversity and inclusivity, from attacks on the talent line-up to laments of the lack of female players. The Overwatch League hosts twenty different nationalities between the players and coaches alone, features one of the only openly gay elite pro players in esports, and assuming Kim ‘Geguri’ Se-yeon’s signing with Shanghai Dragons goes through will also be home to a rare example of a female player competing at the highest level of their game. All things considered, the Overwatch League is perhaps one of the most diverse esports projects in the world. Whether or not Blizzard are in any way responsible for that, they seem to be making every effort to encourage inclusivity in every aspect of both the esport and the wider game.
Image (left) via Blizzard