The watch is beginning for seven esports teams in the U.S. and Asia, and it’s going to have an impact on an industry that research firm Newzoo expects will grow 41.3 percent to $696 million in 2017. Let’s just hope that this doesn’t mean another championship for New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Wednesday, Blizzard announced the first seven cities for its Overwatch League: Boston, New York, Miami-Orlando, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seoul, and Shanghai. You’ve got some big esports names like The Immortals and NRG in the mix, but you also see Craft and New York Mets owner Jeff Wilpon involved as well — showcasing how pro sports are intertwining more with competitive gaming.
Overwatch is one of Blizzard’s biggest games, with more than 30 million people who’ve bought the team-based shooter on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One — and it’s achieved this success in just a little more than a year. Now, you may think that Hearthstone’s 70 million registered players is a bigger sign of success, but remember that Overwatch folks plunked down $40-$60 a pop for a disc or a download, while Blizzard’s “wizard poker” is free-to-play.
The shooter is in the top 10 on Twitch in terms of viewers, ranking No. 6 in May (according to Newzoo). And that’s even without much esports support from Blizzard. And that’s part of the problem that Overwatch faces — competitive gamers are worried about how the Warcraft studio is handling the esports side, but part of this could be folks are waiting to see how Blizzard was going to handle the Overwatch League.
But I also see another problem with the Chinese team — one of trust. NetEase runs Blizzard’s games in China, but it’s also getting an Overwatch esports team. Imagine if the Shanghai team goes on to dominate, a scenario could raise a conflict of interest. I think it’d be better if other Chinese esports groups were involved instead of NetEase to prevent even an appearance of a conflict of interest.
Although I’d probably still prefer a messy conflict-of-interest scandal over the Kraft-owned team winning the championship! He’s got enough Super Bowl rings as it is.
—Jason Wilson, GamesBeat managing editor
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds gets even crazier when one of your teammates is pretending to be a murderbot that’s trying to kill you.
PREVIEW: When it was released, XCOM 2 was a fantastic tactical combat game with an ambitious and occasionally frustrating strategic layer. The complex interactions of the various global systems in the game were tough enough to deal with, at appropriately high difficulties, that various XCOM 2 missions felt so essential that they led to save scumming: […]
The bard has a new story to sing at InXile thanks to an investment from Gumi, and the troubadour’s tale isn’t going to take the form of Torment: Tides of Numenera or Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius. What shape will this story take? How about an open-world survival role-playing game … in virtual reality. Today, Gumi […]
Kevin Chou and Kent Wakeford spent years building Kabam into a mobile gaming giant and selling it (in parts) for more than $800 million to Netmarble and Fox. They could have retired. But they have spent an estimated $20 million for the right to a franchise of Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch League in the esports-crazy region of […]
Blizzard has announced today the it has secured owners for the first seven teams in its Overwatch League, a professional, city-based esports organization centered around the hit team-based shooter. The Overwatch League is slated to start some time later this year. The esports economy will grow 41.3 percent to $696 million in 2017, according to […]
Logitech has just purchased access to the console audio-headset market by acquiring Astro Gaming. The company already has a significant presence in the gaming-peripheral market on PC with keyboards, mice, and headsets, and Astro will give Logitech a piece of that action when it comes to Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Logitech purchased Astro as […]
Cloud gaming platform LiquidSky has launched its revamped Android app, enabling mobile gamers to play their PC games anytime, anywhere on their mobile devices running the Android operating system. The LiquidSky 2.0 beta on Android fulfills one of the promises of cloud gaming, the company said, by enabling gamers to play their high-quality PC games on […]
Valve has a number of changes to the Steam Store in the works that all aim to accomplish one major goal: connect the right customers with the right games. Speaking at Unite Europe, Valve’s Alden Kroll dove into exactly what the company is doing to make this possible, and how developers will ultimately be the ones reaping the benefits of each tweak. (via Gamasutra)
Earlier today, Logitech announced the acquisition of ASTRO Gaming, bringing together the Logitech G line of gaming products with ASTRO’s expertise in gaming headsets. Things are still early for both companies, but I sat down with Logitech G vice president and general manager Ujesh Desai to understand why Logitech paid $85 million for the ASTRO brand. (via USGamer)
Dota 2 is celebrating its biggest-ever update and what is essentially a brand new game. Well, brand new games need patches, and there’s bound to be a whole bunch of them. Below we’ve gathered some highlights from the last few to be deployed, along with links to where you can find out more. (via PC GamesN)
Game pricing is a thorny question that we’ve taken a crack at before, but this week we’re dealing with two considerably thornier questions: how much should an Early Access game cost, and should that cost increase when it officially launches? Last week, Ark: Survival Evolved developer Studio Wildcard announced that its dinosaur survival game was getting a price increase on Steam from $30 to $60 (or £23 to £50) “to ensure retail parity” (match the price of the console versions) ahead of the game’s August launch. Many are less than pleased with the price hike. (via PC Gamer)