Blizzard’s eSports ambitions are hardly a secret and with the launch of Overwatch, we saw another part of the company’s plans being realized, but now it looks like it is official because during BlizzCon 2016, Blizzard announced that Overwatch would be getting its own professional league called “Overwatch League”.
Speaking to ESPN, Blizzard Entertainment president and co-founder Michael Morhaime said, “This is about doing what we can to allow Overwatch esports to achieve its full potential. And I think we have a big opportunity with Overwatch since the game is newly launched, we don’t have an existing ecosystem and we can really design our league upfront in a way that’s best for players and teams.”
So what does this mean for players? Basically players who think they can make it a career out of playing Overwatch will soon be able to do so. Blizzard is also expected to take a page out of the NFL’s book by drafting players. This will be done by inviting eligible players and evaluate them in a series of tests, which in turn will give teams an opportunity to sign players, and will in turn be given a minimum baseline salary and benefits package, but exactly how much that will be remains to be seen.
As it stands, Overwatch is Blizzard’s fastest growing game to date. The game has managed to hit 20 million players since its launch back in May earlier this year. Blizzard has also been working hard to legitimize the game by taking a no-nonsense approach when it came to cheaters, choosing to ban them outright even if it was their first infraction.