Overwatch League Viewership Still Seems to be Declining - Dexerto
Overwatch

Overwatch League Viewership Still Seems to be Declining

Published: 25/May/2018 22:52 Updated: 11/Mar/2019 12:59

by Joe O'Brien

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Overwatch League viewership continues to decline as the league moved into the fourth and final stage of the regular season.

According to a report from the Esports Observer, the first week of the final stage of the league once again saw lower viewership than week one of the previous stage.

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The numbers correspond to a general downward trend in viewership, as each stage is viewed less on average than the stage that came before.

Presenting viewership figures from the three Twitch streams, which broadcast the league in English, French, and Korean, the Esports Observer report highlighted that both the average viewership for the first week dropped, to 113K compared to Stage 3’s 133K, and the week hit a lower peak at 122K versus the 163K peak in Stage 3’s opening week.

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The report also concluded that the gap between New York Excelsior and the rest of the league seems to be reducing interest in their games, with the Excelsior already guaranteed a spot in the playoffs and looking almost certain of taking the top seed.

The league has undoubtedly blown away expectations for the inaugural season in terms of viewership, with none predicting the average viewership would be so high. To put the figures into context, LA Valiant CEO Noah Winston stated before the league that he would be happy with 30k-40k average for season one.

That being said, the downward trend is potentially something of a concern, albeit a minor one for now. The Overwatch League is very clearly a long-term project, and so no metric will show that the league has “succeeded” within the first season, but a negative trend rather than a positive one hints at some of the challenges the league still has to overcome.

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Overwatch

Jeff Kaplan reveals his ideal competitive Overwatch meta

Published: 8/Oct/2020 3:13

by Theo Salaun

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Blizzard Entertainment’s Vice President and Overwatch’s beloved Game Director Jeff Kaplan has revealed what he thinks is the ideal competitive meta for the expansive title.

Overwatch exists in many forms, from its highest ranks to its lowest, but the game’s competitive meta at the professional level has also varied greatly since the original release back in May 2016. 

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In the olden days, teams prioritized dive compositions led by Winston’s jumps and Tracer’s blinks. Then, in 2019, fans around the world either groaned or cheered as the divisive GOATS meta took center-stage, featuring a hefty squad built entirely with tanks and supports. 

Now, Kaplan is explaining his perspective on the game’s ideal state, following criticisms he levied back in July against the game’s double-shield reliance. Examining the game’s departure from a static, Orisa and Sigma-dependent environment, he dissects his compository ideology. 

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Brigitte stuns Junkrat on Volskaya
Blizzard Entertainment
Barriers have held an uncomfortably powerful role in Overwatch for a long time.

As discussed in an interview with the Loadout, Kaplan is both aware of the professional scene’s interests and the casual base’s tendencies. Coupling those factors, he believes the game is at its best when there is some blend of high skill caps and diverse team compositions.

“The most ideal, healthiest state of the game is when the meta is somewhat fluid, when the meta is more map dependent or team match up dependent than it is static. We’ve all seen those moments when the meta has been completely static and all six players will just play the same six heroes every time. I think that’s fun from a mastery standpoint, but I think it’s a lot more exciting for viewers when creativity and curiosity come into play,” he said.

When Kaplan refers to a “static” meta, the simplest example is 2019’s GOATS, where three healers (Brigitte, Lucio, and Moira) were coupled with three tanks (D.Va, Reinhardt, and Zarya) and would barrel into opponents.

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It took tremendous teamwork to be pulled off successfully against other professional teams, but many fans considered it more tedious than entertaining after months of gameplay.

In its current state, Overwatch is not completely balanced, but there is a degree of variety to it. That diversity seen in the Overwatch League spans downward into the casual ranks. Kaplan indicates that this is in line with his department’s hopes.

“I think most of our players would say in the ideal meta, all our heroes would be viable in some way competitively. I think as a competitive goal from a game designing and game balancing perspective that is extremely challenging, but it’s obviously what we strive to achieve.”

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While he assures that Overwatch would be completely balanced in an ideal world, in the meantime, his team would at least like to push toward a game that varies to some extent based on coaching, player preference, and map.

It remains to be seen if current and upcoming patches can accomplish that, but Kaplan’s emphasis on “fluidity” is a welcome driving force.

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