ESports are a fascinating, complicated business. There are various leagues, tournaments, championships, and invitationals for an array of popular multiplayer games. Players travel the world participating in various events, while fans follow them avidly on livestreams and in crowded arenas. But despite eSports' popularity, they have remained, in the grand scheme of things, a relatively small community. Blizzard Entertainment wants to change that.
Two weeks ago, the legendary developer launched the inaugural season of Overwatch League. As opposed to the fractured structure of other eSports leagues, the OWL represents specific cities around the world: Shanghai, Seoul, New York, and London, to name a few. They each have their own rosters of Overwatch pros competing to be the first OWL champions.
Blizzard's hope is that the new league will evolve eSports and push it into mainstream appeal. It wants to let fans associate with their teams easier, whether they come from Los Angeles, Houston, or Florida. It wants to build identities around its teams that go beyond the individual players involved. Activison Blizzard also spending a lot of money to reach that goal.
In the video above, we interviewed people involved with the Overwatch League, from the players, to the owners, to the game's creators themselves. We discussed how big of a risk the whole endeavor is, and what they want to come from it, both as individuals, and as a collective group. Between the money and time involved, OWL is a massive risk. With our latest behind-the-scenes video, we dive into every aspect of Blizzard's big gamble.