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    Esportsbusiness.net Team

    If you were asleep during the last few months, let me introduce you to one of the biggest games of the year: Overwatch is a first-person multiplayer shooter developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment. It was released in May for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and quickly become the new fever in the gaming world.

    The game is quite simple: put the players into two teams of six, were each player can select one of several pre-defined characters, gaining attributes and skills; these heroes are divided into four classes: attack, defense, tank and support. Players on a team need to work together to secure and defend control points on a map and / or escort a payload across the map with limited time. Players earn valuable rewards that do not affect gameplay, such as character skins and victory gestures, and get better as they continue to play. Blizzard says that all Overwatch updates will remain free, with the only additional cost occuring for special attributes, which do not affect thebalance of the game.

    The game sold sold seven million copies worldwide so far. Blizzard is doing a great job in several ways and guaranteed the publics interest. It is a success, of course, but some are questioning if Overwatch will pass the heat of the moment and become a real eSport game.


    Like everything that Blizzard creates, the background story for Overwatch is described by short animation and other information distributed by Blizzard while promoting the game. The story is sixty years into the future in a fictional state, thirty years after the resolution of the “Omnic crisis.” Before that, humanity was in a golden age of prosperity and development of technology. Humans developed robots with artificial intelligence called “omnics”, which were produced in automated installations throughout the world and put into use to achieve economic equality. The crisis began when Omnic omniums began producing a series of robots, hostile and lethal, which at one point turned against humanity. The United Nations quickly formed a task force called Overwatch, to combat Omnic threat and restore order. In charge of Overwatch, two veterans: Gabriel Reyes and Jack Morrison. Although Overwatch repressed successfully robotic uprising and brought a number of talented individuals to the front, a rift developed between Reyes and Morrison and Morrison became the leader of the Overwatch while Reyes took charge of Blackwatch, a division of covert operations Overwatch. Overwatch kept the peace throughout the world for several decades. It was called “Generation Overwatch”, but the fights between Morrison and Reyes intensified, giving rise to several complaints of irregularities and flaws in Overwatch, led to public protests against the organization and fighting among its members, which forced the UN to investigate the situation. During this period, an explosion destroyed the seat of Overwatch in Switzerland, and both Morrison and Reyes were reportedly killed.

    So when you start up Overwatch, you can see all the visual details of the game. In short, the game is beautiful: the game’s cast design is a huge potential. The comic style that inspired the cast keeps much more mass market appeal than typical soldier characters like they are standardized by similar games. While graphics are an important fact for gaining popularity, winning the viewer is a mission that goes beyond the beauty of a game, the story or even the difficulty: it is the gameplay that is important to the general audience. One can see though that Blizzard made a lot of design decisions to make things easier for the public to follow.

    This includes the possibility of transmitting the game on various online platforms as well as the limitation to only 10 minute long games, which is shorter than most of the other current eSports titles – this guarantees for more attention of the viewer and makes the game more dynamic and competitive.

    But not everything is perfect yet. There are already complaints that the current viewer mode of the game is limited, a mere spectator can get a bit lost watching the game. Professional players additionas are having some problems to grow into the game until Blizzard allows a ranking mode, which was pushed out of the open beta and was promised to be integrated after launch.


    The biggest advantage of Overwatch will be the way that Blizzard supports the competitive scene in terms of official tournament runs, awards as well as allowing other third party to perform major tournaments like IEM or DreamHack. While the competitive landscape of Starcraft is not losing public interest, it even creates a chance for Blizzard to position Overwatch as a modern setting for their eSports tournaments.

    Edited by Marian Härtel

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