Outlaws respond to backlash after leaving Overwatch esports for content creation

Declan Mclaughlin
Houston Outlaws

Outlaws have released a statement addressing the fan backlash to its pivot to content creation, away from esports, and messaging after the Overwatch League folded.

Outlaws, formerly the Houston Outlaws, announced on November 10 in a video posted to social media that it was pivoting away from esports following the death of the Overwatch League and into content creation.

The brand introduced three new content creators and said it isn’t ruling out a return to esports at some point in the future.

Fans were not happy with the announcement, not only for the surprise pivot away from esports after starting as a brand in OWL in 2017 but also for not bringing on any Overwatch content creators. The three creators signed on to the Outlaws do not stream or create videos around Overwatch and mostly stick to Call of Duty or Valorant.

Die-hard Houston Outlaws fans, who had been with the organization since its inception, said the pivot felt like a betrayal. Even casual bystanders and fans were a little confused with the move, as it seemed like a big leap to go away from Overwatch content to a FaZe Clan-esque operation.

The organization has since lost thousands of followers, and some accounts claimed the Outlaws’ X account blocked people who posted negative replies to its announcement.

Outlaws posted a response to the backlash on November 13 on social media.

Outlaws respond to fans over transition away from esports

The brand said that its decision to move into content creation was not an easy one and that it is still “incredibly dedicated to the Overwatch League and to our fans.”

“However with the dissolution of the League (which was not our decision), we had to decide whether to stay together and forge a new direction as Outlaws, or dissolve along with the OWL,” the statement said.

The statement was another miss with most of its followers, as people said the response was passive-aggressive and missed the point of what fans were upset over.

“Just want to echo that it’s not about the change; it’s about how y’all – one of the most beloved teams in the league – treated those fans who voiced extremely valid concerns. The passive aggressive tone of this is beyond irksome as well,” one X user said.

Outlaws is one of the many Overwatch League brands and franchises that must decide what to do with its business in a post-OWL world. Unlike franchises like the San Francisco Shock, which is owned by another esports brand, NRG Esports, Outlaws is operated by Beasley Media Group. The company owns a news website covering esports and gaming and also has many radio shows under its umbrella.

Only time will tell whether Outlaws as a brand will survive its pivot away from its more hard-core fanbase in esports into a more casual general gaming organization.

About The Author

Based in Indiana, Declan McLaughlin is an esports reporter for Dexerto Esports covering Valorant, LoL and anything else that pops up. Previously an editor and reporter at Upcomer, Declan is often found reading investigative stories or trying to do investigations himself. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Indiana University. You can contact him at declan.mclaughlin@dexerto.com.