Three years since Felix ‘xQc’ Lengyel’s stint as an Overwatch League pro came to an end, the now popular Twitch streamer has revealed that a surprise agreement ‘forced’ on players almost led to unionization.
Prior to his run as one of the top streamers on Twitch, xQc used to be known for his Overwatch gameplay. Having competed at the professional level from 2016, he was part of the inaugural Overwatch League season in 2018.
Signed to the Dallas Fuel, xQc’s time on stage lasted just a few weeks before he pivoted to full-time content creation.
Now three years removed from the experience and xQc recalled how a players union almost came into effect before the first match even started.
As the League’s first media day drew to a close, Blizzard handed every player a “big a** contract,” xQc told fellow streamer Hasan ‘HasanAbi’ Piker.
It was this surprising document that nearly forced players to unionize, he explained.
“When I got into the Overwatch League, we all signed our own contracts with our own [organization] and then went to the media day,” xQc said.
“At the end of the conference, they gave us these big a** contracts. Every player had to sign to accept the official Overwatch League agreement.”
While documents of this nature are stock standard in most competitive leagues, often outlining the do’s and don’ts of being a professional player, Blizzard allegedly told players to sign on the dotted line there and then.
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“The document was huge… Big a** document,” xQc repeated. “Not everybody agreed with it. We were like, this is kind of stupid.”
“People started bringing it up, maybe we should unionize.”
It’s not the first time the idea of OWL unionization has come into focus. The intention was there to try and safeguard players from any questionable or confusing clauses in the agreement.
However, it wasn’t to be in the early days of the League.
OWL officials supposedly informed players they had “to sign now,” xQc said. Thus, before the idea of a players union could gain proper traction, it was nipped in the bud.
“Every player just signed it and that was the end of it.”
Although players have “been talking about unionizing for years” — and it exists in other games like League of Legends and Counter-Strike — it’s still yet to happen in the Overwatch scene.
The same can also be said for another popular Activision title as the pro Call of Duty scene is yet to unionize as well.
Various organizations have begun the process in some regions, though it’s still early days yet for a vast majority of players around the world.