Overwatch streamer has hilarious reaction to Jeff Kaplan joining her at BlizzCon - Dexerto

Overwatch streamer has hilarious reaction to Jeff Kaplan joining her at BlizzCon

Published: 5/Nov/2018 13:51

by Joe O'Brien


Overwatch streamer Fran had a hilarious reaction when Jeff Kaplan dropped into her stream at BlizzCon.

Part of the Overwatch section of BlizzCon involved having popular Overwatch streamers broadcast live from the event. Doing so gave viewers from home a means of seeing some of the new content in action.

During these streams, Overwatch developers occasionally dropped in to talk about the game, discussing new hero Ashe in more detail and also allowing the various streamers to act as a conduit for fan questions for those that couldn’t make it to BlizzCon.

Fran was one such streamer at BlizzCon, but when she saw which developer exactly her Q&A session would be with, it was clear she wasn’t expected the Overwatch game director himself.

To Overwatch fans and players, Jeff Kaplan isn’t just another developer. Not only is he the game director, but he’s also the face of the game, communicating Blizzard’s plans via developer updates and taking the main spotlight whenever Blizzard has a significant Overwatch presentation to make.

Beyond his position of authority over the game, however, Kaplan’s popularity also stems from his reputation as an old-school, hardcore gamer.

Before even joining Blizzard, Kaplan was a well-known player on EverQuest, under the name “Tigole”, where he was particularly recognized for some epic (and expletive-filled) forum rants about the state of the game before getting a job working on World of Warcraft to prove he could do better.

Altogether, the result is a celebrity status for Kaplan that’s rarely afforded to game developers, and subsequently the increased likelihood of these kind of reactions when he drops in on an Overwatch player unannounced.


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


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.