Blizzard’s big 2016 shooter is attracting a lot of attention as a game for competitions.
ESL announced today that it is adding Overwatch to the roster for its Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) tournament later this month. As part of IEM Gyeonggi, which begins December 16 at the Goyang Sports Complex stadium in South Korea, six Overwatch pro teams will compete over a $100,000 prize pool. This is just the latest move for Overwatch in the esports scene. It’s getting its own league from publisher Blizzard, and its also a featured game in tournaments from organizations Eleague and Next Generation Esports. Esports is on pace to generate $493 million in revenue this year, according to industry-intelligence firm Newzoo. And Overwatch could fuel even more growth for the space as it approaches $1 billion annually.
“Overwatch is a fantastic source of esports competition and its popularity is exploding, which is why we’re thrilled to add the title to Intel Extreme Masters Gyeonggi,” Intel esports marketing manager George Woo said in a statement. “We look forward to showcasing Intel’s technology and innovative gaming products at the event as we continue to push the boundaries of interactive entertainment for our fans.”
ESL is one of the longest-running esports organizers, and IEM is one of its marquee events. As part of IEM, Overwatch will share the stage with invitationals for Starcraft II and League of Legends, which are both among the most popular esports games ever — especially in South Korea. This is another sign that Blizzard is potentially in the process of fostering the next major competitive-gaming standout. That could help the publisher maintain an engaged audience for years.
“South Korea is considered by many to be the birthplace of esports, and we’re thrilled that IEM is returning to the country for the first time since Season 3 to close out 2016,” ESL vice president of pro gaming Michal Blicharz said. “The addition of the Overwatch IEM Gyeonggi Invitational will make the last IEM event of the year a celebration of South Korea’s most popular gaming titles.”