This is part of an ongoing series on the history of Overwatch. If you want to read the rest of the series in order, head this way.
Overwatch has quickly grown to be a wildly successful shooter with a huge and dedicated fanbase. But the game is still only a year old , and I daresay the game is still incredibly young, with a long road ahead of it. The Esports scene is, whilst growing and lucrative, still incredibly young – during Blizzcon last year we saw the World Cup, and many separate invitationals for big prize money have been held, but the balance between standalone game and Esports scene still leans heavily towards the game on its own; many don’t even notice the Esports side.
Despite the lack of an Esports scene to rival the likes of League of Legends, Overwatch is still wildly popular and shows absolutely zero sign of shrinking. For a long time Overwatch was constantly head-to-head in the popularity contests with LoL in Korean PC Bangs, but lost the race thanks to a ruling on account sharing from Blizzard. South Korea is an essential country when it comes to Esports, which is wildly popular over there thanks to the fact that they dominate the leaderboards in many Esports (Korea have their own Esports TV channel – the future is now). Blizzard would do very well to begin their conquest of the Esports scene over in Korea, who are already winning the biggest Overwatch tournaments, and expand from outwards from there.
Aside from Esports, Blizzard have been doing a fantastic job of getting all gamers in the know of Overwatch, though. Thanks to the fact they regularly release content like comics and animated shorts related to the in-game universe, legions of fans have hopped on the Overwatch hype-train just for the fandom – many don’t even own the game. Most conventions, gaming related or not, have been dominated by Overwatch in the last year, with cosplayers, artists, and content creators all embracing the franchise oh so willingly.
In terms of new content coming to the game itself, we’re going to see a lot of new hero introductions. We already know of many thanks to the lore; for example, the generational character Doomfist will almost certainly be making his way into the game (and maybe even voiced by Terry Crews). We’ve also got Liao, one of the founding fathers of Overwatch along with Soldier: 76 and Reaper, and maybe even the game’s AI-turned-announcer Athena – just for a bit of fun speculation. We’re also guaranteed to get new maps, modes, and reworks as time goes by, thanks to Blizzard’s dedicated support for their beloved franchises.
Overwatch is still so young, and it’s certain we’ll see it grow into an even bigger and more high-profile game as time passes. If I had to speculate as to what will happen next for the game, I’d like to say that the Esports scene will grow and potentially dominate the likes of Counter-Strike and League of Legends, but as it stands I can’t see that happening – Blizzard games aren’t well known for their Esports (except Starcraft II, but that’s slowly on its way out itself). If Blizzard want to make some Esports waves, we’ll need to see an even bigger investment into the scene from them – perhaps even taking the oh-so-proven Valve route and sponsoring a number of Majors to be held throughout the year.
This concludes the Overwatch History series of posts here on this blog – it’s likely i’ll be doing more of these for other, much more established games, so stay on the lookout for those in the future. If you liked this series, let me know! Just leave a comment down below and I’ll be sure to take note.