Nate Nanzer, head of esports for Overwatch just had a press conference disclosing important information regarding the start date for the long awaited Overwatch League. The press conference was held earlier today at the Parnas Hotel in Seoul Samsung Station in Korea.
4 hrs of press immediately following a red eye. Only took 6 espressos. Time for BEEF. pic.twitter.com/Ig3Ok0FKU8
— Nate Nanzer (@natenanzer) February 23, 2017
Q. Specifically, how will the Overwatch league manifest?
Our ultimate goal is to create a global league just like traditional esports such as football. This is why we came up with a plan to implement a city based team system. Although Korea is very mature when it comes to esports culture, there aren’t many region based tournaments. This is why we aim for stability in teams through things like regional sponsors. so we are considering things like home stadiums in the future.
We are considering things like home stadiums in the future.
Also in Overwatch league, there will be no relegations once a team is included in the league. This will allow team owners to participate in the league with stability. As Stability is a key part in establishing the league, we’ll acquire salaries for the players through fair distribution of profits.
Q. Do you think region based team system fits well in Korea?
It’d be an exaggeration if I said I’m confident, but I do think Overwatch is a game that’s tailored for esports. I am aware that some Korean fans are concerned about the city-based teams, but this type of global league is unprecedented not only in Korea but also globally. It will be a great challenge for Blizzard and we will not spare any support.
A lot of fans are curious about how the team names will be decided, but it is not decided at this point if the team names will have city names or not. This will proceed depending on local demands when the league starts.
Q. What are the realistic profit models to sustain the OW league?
Great contents will be the key. Overwatch esports team is under the Overwatch development team because we believe that in order to establish a successful esports, we need a lot of supports and changes from within the game itself. This is why when the OW league starts, we will add systems that will support viewing esports matches, check player’s profile or view additional video contents.
And it is through those quality contents that we will host regional and global sponsors, and share the profits from ticket sales, broadcasting rights, and merchandise sales with the teams.
I’d like to take this opportunity to state that the OW league is not simply a part of marketing strategy. We are pursuing it with strong will and with the goal of establishing esports ecosystem that rivals traditional sports. Blizzard will continuously invest in this challenge. Overwatch has 20 million paying players within 8 months of release and we believe it has sufficient potential.
Q. If you would define OW league, is it an ‘association ‘ or a independent ‘league’ ?
OW league is an independent ‘league’. We’ve had many ideas about the name, but OW league means a premier league that is on top of every leagues.
Q. Are there plans to provide home stadiums?
That will depend on the region. We are considering many options for Korea as it is the birthplace of Esports and there are many esports stadiums already. This requires some decisions from the team owners so it is hard to give a difinitive answer.
Q. Are you willing to share profits from in-game content sales with the teams?
We’ve decided that with the current global overwatch paying player base the esports will be profitable. This is why we are trying to establish business models such as profits from ticket sales, merchendises, broadcasting right, etc.
Sharing profits from in-game sales has not been decided yet, but is being seriously considered. It is possible to share profits from sales of seasonal esports items or team related items with the teams, but it is still under consideration at this point.
Speaking of in-game, we are planning to provide systems constantly that will support esports. We are planning a lot of systems including making HP bars above the head more visible, and systems that will allow the spectator to see clearly the progression of the match. These preparations are also part of the overall preparations for the OW league.
Q. How much contacts have there been regarding the OW league with the companies and local governments?
At this stage, we are intoducing the OW league to major regions. We are looking for and in contact with potential team owners.
Q. Is it possible to form and participate in the OW league as a multi-sex team?
That will up to the teams. We aim for diversity in sex, race, and rolls, etc. If the team wants to, they are free to have not only multi-sex team, but they are also free to have players with different nationalities. It is a region based league, but there are no boundaries in region or nationality when it comes to players.
Q. Is there a reason tracer is the logo for the OW league?
We’ve put in a lot of considerations for the logo as well. Tracer is one of hallmark characters in OW so we thought people would be able to tell it is an OW league without reading the text. This is why her post is very athletic, to give the feeling of sports.
Q. What are the specific schedules for the OW league in the future?
We’ll start the 2017 season within Q3. During this period, there will be a lot of acquiring players and forming new teams so the league will be a compact form. However, from 2018, we will be able to provide regulare seasons with consistant schedule.
At the start, it will be held in major stadiums in some regions, and with enough teams and infrastructure, you will be able to enjoy OW league being played in home stadiums. Also, the final match of the OW league will not be blizzcon and it will be held in a new city every year.
The final match of the Overwatch league will not be Blizzcon and it will be held in a new city every year.
Q. Will OW league players be drafted?
The players won’t be drafted. The team owners will have the rights to their roster. We will do our best to prevent cases where existing teams would break up for the OW league.
Q. How will the team owners be decided?
We welcome anyone who is willing to invest in the OW league and keep the team in the long term. Of course, they are required to have necessary capital or plans to form a team. Due to privacies of each organization or company, we can’t disclose the qualifications.
If the owner is selected through collaboration with the OW league, he or she can participate in the OW league permanently. We will return with more information in the near future.