Overwatch

Leak claims Overwatch will go free-to-play amid sequel rumors

Published: 27/Oct/2019 18:24 Updated: 27/Oct/2019 19:16

by Brent Koepp

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A prominent leaker in the Overwatch community claims that the hero shooter will be going free-to-play in the near future, as rumors of a sequel continue to spill out.

Rumors for Overwatch kicked into overdrive over the last few days when leaks hit the internet that claimed the FPS would be getting an official sequel, and that it would be announced at this year’s BlizzCon on November 1.

However, now another leak has emerged that suggests that the popular team-based shooter will actually being going free-to-play from now on, and could be announced at Blizzard’s annual convention.

BlizzardRumors suggest that Overwatch will be getting a direct sequel announced at this year’s BlizzCon.

Overwatch going free to play?

Overwatch streamer and insider ‘Metro’ has been posting some pretty major leaks, such as claiming that the shooter will have its sequel announced at this year’s BlizzCon, and even gave a description of the trailer that will supposedly be shown.

However, now the leaker has posted another bombshell, and suggested that Overwatch will be going free-to-play. “The final juice: OW will be free-to-play from now on,” he tweeted on October 27.

Metro also pointed out that he wasn’t sure if the new model would be implemented with Overwatch and announced at BlizzCon, or if this is going to be for the sequel, which is rumored to be out in 2020.

“From whenever Blizzard decides to make it F2P, might be at BlizzCon or we might have to wait until OW 2 will actually release,” he tweeted further.

While going free-to-play is something many multiplayer-based games eventually do to keep the player base strong, some users were confused about how this would work, given that Overwatch was just sold on Nintendo Switch.

Metro tweeted out that because it’s going to F2P, Blizzard could just scrap the original and move everyone to the sequel at no extra cost, given that it would be a free download. Although some users were not happy at the idea, given they paid $40 for the title on the Nintendo console.

Blizzcon starts on November 1, and is easily the most anticipated Blizzard convention in years, given all eyes are on the game developer to see what they do with Overwatch.

Only time will tell if these leaks and rumors turn out to be true, although regardless of what they announce, it seems that big changes are coming for the hero shooter.

Business

Activision in talks to reduce fees owed by CDL & Overwatch League teams

Published: 2/Dec/2020 22:14 Updated: 2/Dec/2020 22:35

by Theo Salaun

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Recent reports from The Esports Observer indicate that Activision Blizzard are in the midst of discussions to possibly reduce the amount the amount owed by Overwatch League and Call of Duty League franchises as part of their entry fees.

With all OWL and CDL plans derailed over the past year, Activision are reportedly trying to rework the hefty investments that organizations have made into their franchising opportunities. When the massive game development company pitched both leagues, neither was expected to be profitable in the short-term, but projections have taken an even greater hit due to current global restrictions.

A groundbreaking esports concept centered around the city-based model that is used in traditional sports, Activision required $20 million entry fees for the OWL’s first 12 teams and then fees in the range between $30 to $60 million for its next eight. For the CDL’s inaugural season, 12 teams needed to put up at least $25 million apiece, even more for cities that were in high-demand.

Now that the plans for local events have understandably shifted, neither league is expanding for their next season and ownership groups in both are looking for ways to save cash. As reported by The Esports Observer’s Adam Stern, this has engendered cost-cutting discussions with Activision’s latest new senior executive hire, Tony Petitti.

overwatch league 2020 event crowd
Ben Pursell For Blizzard Entertainment
One of the many avid crowds at Overwatch League events.

Petitti, formerly Major League Baseball’s deputy commissioner, was hired by Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick to a senior role involved with both of their leagues as the President of Sports and Entertainment. He joins Johanna Faries, a former National Football League executive, who brings a traditional sports perspective as the commissioner for both the CDL and OWL.

Given their experience with city-based sports leagues, Activision is likely aware of the profitability challenges that their current esport and sport investment groups are facing. As such, it should be no surprise that they are willing to have conversations about concessions that can make current projections fit closer to the original expectations.

As Stern reports, those discussions have included discounting some of the original entry fees: “one idea that is being weighed is reducing the amount of money they owe to the video game maker.” 

Call of Duty League LAN
Call of Duty League
Following in the OWL’s footsteps, the CDL also had huge enthusiasm for live events.

With Immortals Gaming Club selling their Los Angeles Call of Duty franchise to 100 Thieves and reportedly being interested in selling their OWL spot as well, many are wondering if franchise valuations have shifted.

Fortunately, it appears that the profitability projections have remained somewhat consistent despite current predicaments. As reported by Forbes’ Christina Settimi, 100 Thieves COO John Robinson would not set an exact figure on their LA Thieves purchase, but suggested that “franchise values have held up.”

Activision would likely want to avoid an exodus of owners, so these discussions to cut costs and protect brand health are reportedly ongoing.