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Overwatch 2 nets new Champions esports league with multi-year deal

After killing the Overwatch League late last year, Blizzard is rebirthing Overwatch 2's esports scene with a brand new league.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

January 23, 2024

2 Min Read
Screenshot of co-op players in Overwatch 2's Story Missions mode.
Image via Blizzard Entertainment.

At a Glance

  • Blizzard hopes the new Overwatch Champions Series will bring about a "new era" for the hero shooter's esports life.

Blizzard Entertainment is bringing Overwatch 2 back to the esports space with a new Overwatch Champions Series (OWCS).

The developer struck a multi-year exclusive deal with ESL Facelift Group (EFG) to create a new international esports circuit for the popular hero shooter. Players in North America, Asia, and the EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) are eligible to join.

Last summer, Activision Blizzard effectively killed the OWCS' predecessor, Overwatch League. The esports league formed shortly after the first Overwatch's release.

The esports community has effectively led to a number of reworks to Overwatch characters in both games, and also been a solid revenue driver. In late 2023, Blizzard said it'd switch to another esports model.

What is Overwatch 2's esports future?

Executive producer Jared Neuss said working with EFG would bring a "new era" for the shooter. "A thriving esports scene is important to a game as competitive as Overwatch 2, and we’re very excited."

When highlighting Diablo IV's launch success last summer, Activision Blizzard acknowledged Overwatch 2's rough go. Pre and post-launch, it's faced criticism for missing features to its handling of two-factor authentication.

A new esports league may not fully get players back on board with the shooter. But at the very least, it may help give it an extra burst of adrenaline.

The new OWCS will be run by EFG in North America and the EMEA, while Korean esports organizer WGD will run the Asian circuit. Each region will have its own qualifiers and tournaments, which will be followed by a pair of in-person international events.

For North America and the EMEA, the first events will take place EFG's Dreamhack festivals in Dallas from May 31-June 2. The second, for the World Finals, will be in Stockholm from November 22-24, and feature teams from all three regions.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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