While Blizzard is starting its own official esports league for Overwatch, third-party event organizers continue to turn to the popular game for their own tournaments.
Next Generation Esports (NGE) is the latest company to start a competition for the class-based team shooter with its Overwatch Winter Premiere event. Beginning in December, NGE’s event will enable teams to register online to partake in online qualifiers before shaving down the field to the top eight teams. Those finalists will then compete for a $100,000 prize pool over a three-week round-robin group stage leading into the two-day finals.
This is not part of Blizzard’s new city-based Overwatch League, but NGE is working directly with Blizzard. It will handle production and broadcasting on the event, and it will stream live on Twitch. But this means that Blizzard doesn’t have a problem with its Overwatch league having to compete with other tournaments, and that’s likely because this market is largely viewed as a way to market the game to consumers even though esports generate $493 million in revenues annually.
“NGE’s philosophy is to find the most ambitious esports partners and work with them to elevate their shows,”NGE chief executive Andy Vander Woude said in a statement. “That’s why we’re thrilled to work with Blizzard to create an esports experience perfectly matched to Overwatch fans.”
Overwatch joins popular esports games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, and League of Legends. It proves that the space is not stagnating and that fans are open to new games — although it also shows that companies like Blizzard that have a lot of experience with esports might have an advantage.