Overwatch devs "considering" massive Competitive play overhaul - Dexerto
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Overwatch devs “considering” massive Competitive play overhaul

Published: 7/May/2020 6:50

by Brad Norton

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Overwatch could be in store for a major competitive shakeup as Blizzard is reportedly looking into the option of making Competitive Open Queue a primary mode.

Blizzard added Competitive Open Queue as an Arcade mode in the April 14 Overwatch update, alongside the latest hero in Echo. This mode allowed players to venture back to an earlier state where the 2-2-2 system wasn’t in place.

After a few weeks in the Arcade section – having emerged as a clear fan-favorite across all regions and platforms – the mode could soon be implemented as a new form of proper Competitive play.

Blizzard Entertainment
An overview of the recent Competitive Open Queue Arcade mode.

The current version of the Competitive ladder limits team compositions to two heroes in each role. However, the old form of competition without these limits may soon be making a far bigger splash.

Blizzard is looking into the idea of adding Competitive Open Queue “into the regular Competitive play,” according to Overwatch insider OverwatchNaeri.

This would bring the mode out of Arcade and turn it into a mainstay feature, rather than a rotating playlist.

Competitive Open Queue may not outright replace the current form of Competitive play with the 2-2-2 role lock system. Though it could soon appear alongside the standard mode in the main menu.

Overwatch developers are currently weighing the options. It appears as though “there may be two versions of Competitive Play if it passes.”

The original Competitive format paved the way for controversial compositions like GOATS. Players could soon have the option to queue for legitimate competitive games under the old, non-role locked format.

Blizzard
Would you choose to grind the standard Competitive mode or the Open Queue playlist?

If the transition from an Arcade mode to a fully-fledged competitive playlist does go through, this would provide a full ranked experience. Seasonal points would be up for grabs as players compete in all manner of ranks from Bronze to Top 500.

Only time will tell if Blizzard does move forward with these plans. Such a major decision would certainly shake up the future of competitive Overwatch.

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.