Is Competitive Overwatch Dying? – The Sports Geek

Is Competitive Overwatch Dying? - The Sports Geek

Is Competitive Overwatch Dying Alt

After all that went down with Blizzard, one cannot help but wonder: is competitive Overwatch dying? This question has been posed a million times thus far and while there’s no definitive answer just yet, things certainly aren’t looking bright for this oh-so-wonderful (and most peculiar) team-based FPS.

And, well, it pains us to say it. Competitive Overwatch — at its best — is arguably the most exciting esport of them all. There’s really no other way to say it. It’s hectic, explosive, and even when you can’t fully grasp what’s happening on screen you’re still entertained beyond measure.

All the right ingredients are there: incredible narratives, likable personalities, a passionate (albeit dwindling) playerbase, pop-off moments which immediately etch themselves in one’s memory, and — perhaps most importantly — a game that is both exciting to watch and play.

So what’s the problem then? Well, the answer is quite layered and, therefore, hard to fully (and accurately) convey with words. Blizzard sort of let Overwatch go “down the drain,” for reasons that still elude us.

Overwatch received the most infrequent of balance changes. New hero releases happened sporadically and they were few in number, too. And don’t even get us started on the way its esports scene was structured and tended to.

All of this was (more than) enough for Overwatch to decline and become what it is today: a game on the brink of extinction.

30 days or one month 📅

Which one makes it feel like #OWL2022 starts sooner?

— Overwatch League (@overwatchleague) April 5, 2022

Mistake After Mistake

Blizzard’s approach was flawed at best. That, too, feels like an understatement — and a most severe one, at that. Pure negligence from start to finish. Frequent company-wide changes and scandals obviously didn’t help, either.

The Overwatch League had good people running it, but they weren’t given carte blanche but were, instead, forced into making numerous decisions — all of which have hindered OWL’s growth and have resulted in what we have today.

The game isn’t dead per se, but it has no hype surrounding it whatsoever. It’s astounding, really, just how big of a decline it has seen. The only thing keeping it “alive” are the dedicated and ever fervent fans — the players who are still somehow enamored by its dazzling gameplay and rich palette of characters and storylines. But they, too, have dwindled in number, and naturally so.

Blizzard has done very little (if anything) to justify their faith and dedication. And, sadly, things seemingly won’t get any better any time soon.

OW2 — A Shot at Making Things Right?

Now, Overwatch 2 is right around the corner, but its release probably won’t change much. It might make the game a bit easier to spectate but that alone is by no means enough to warrant anyone’s interest and attention.

We also have to touch on VALORANT, a game that has really taken the world by storm and sort of “killed” Overwatch in the process, too. Riot handles esports better than any other company in the world. Heck, even a veritable pandemic wasn’t enough to slow them down — that alone speaks volumes.

A surprising number of people — professional players included — have transitioned over to VALORANT. In fact, some OWL’s most successful players made the jump the very moment Riot’s FPS was announced. If that isn’t a sign of a “dying” game we don’t what is. That “screams” not only disappointment but also indifference.

Overwatch hasn’t been vogue in years and that cannot (and will not) change any time soon. It is an incredible game, but it has lost its luster and winning people back is going to be a challenge Blizzard almost surely will not succeed in meeting.

Overwatch 2 was announced a whopping two years ago. It’s been in development hell for quite a while now, and even though it will see the light of day, most folks simply don’t care any longer.

Now sure, millions of players will flock to try it out but only out of curiosity, not actual interest. The differences between it and the original are also rather minute and negligible. They do exist, but it’s still a very similar game at its core.

And, well, it’s still made by a company that obviously doesn’t know what it’s doing.

Why would anyone care after all that went down — after years of absolute negligence? Players are, at times, easy to win over but exceedingly hard to win back. They’re always on the lookout for the “next big thing” and if you squander away their trust — as Blizzard has done time and time again — they will move on and seek greener pastures. And, unfortunately for Blizzard, there’s an abundance of options out there, all of them more alluring and novel.

Is the Overwatch League Dying?

It certainly feels like it. In fact, it’s sort of been in a catatonic state for years. Players have left and retired en masse (ditto for a bunch of casters and analysts) and the scene itself has been ignored altogether.

Esports is ever-changing. It evolves at an incredibly rapid pace.

There’s always something new on the horizon — there is no reprieve, no break; “standing still” is a luxury no company can afford lest its product be overtaken and overshadowed.

And in such a world Blizzard’s prized FPS seemingly has no place. Now, things could change for the better, but it’ll take years for that to — potentially — happen. And Blizzard has no more strikes available. If they make even a single mistake, no matter how egregious, a debacle will almost surely ensue.

And, well, they have no one else to blame but themselves.

There’s Still a Chance

Competitive Overwatch has regressed to an earlier, less developed state; that, however, is still better than it being “dead.” As a result, the game could, over time, regain some of its luster and “former glory.”

It’s a stretch, we know, but by no means is it impossible.

We’re still intrigued, for some odd reason. We want the Overwatch League to succeed but there’s absolutely no reason for anyone to foster any kind of optimism regarding its future and overall longevity.

Blizzard has done very little (if anything) to warrant our benefit of the doubt. Things could, in theory, take a turn for the better, but we wouldn’t bet our money on it to happen.

The League will surely enjoy a resurgence of sorts in the beginning, but it, too, will be short-lived. Blizzard has made many mistakes in the way in which they’ve handled competitive Overwatch and, given the current status quo, we’re not sure if they’ll be given a chance at finding redemption.

Author: Tamara Kim