During the last decade, with the rise of esports games such as League of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the developers at Blizzard wanted to build something unique.
This is why they thought that it would be a great idea to combine the hero element of LoL and the FPS elements of CS:GO. The name given to their creation was … Overwatch.
Overwatch took the world by storm when it was first announced in 2014. On its first open beta, there were over 10 million players who signed up. And when it was finally released in 2016, the numbers grew higher and higher.
So, we now come to 2021. The Overwatch League is a reality, and its player base is still fairly high.
Let’s take a closer look at what this means for investors…
The Overwatch League (OWL)
As I mentioned right above, Activision has decided to implement a franchise model, which is very similar to what LoL and traditional sports have done for years. We’re of course talking about the Overwatch League.
The coolest thing about the OWL is that in Season 1, back in 2019, they followed a city-based model. This would mean that players from the Pacific Division would play matches in LA, while the Atlantic Division had NYC as their base.
Season 1 featured 12 teams, which have now been increased to 20 that come from all over the world, consisting of 13 from North America, 5 from Asia, and 2 from Europe.
Each slot for the League was, reportedly, sold for $25 million in the inaugural season. That number would increase to $30 million in Season 2.
Twitch also joined in on the hype, by supposedly closing a two-year deal with OWL for exclusive streaming rights back in 2017, for a whopping $90 million.
All these numbers sound great, right? This is why many investors, like team owners, wonder whether it’s a good idea to get a spot in the Overwatch League…
Is Investing in Overwatch a Good Idea?
According to many professionals, the short answer is no. But why is that? After all, esports is supposedly a billion-dollar industry. And Overwatch had over 50 million players in 2020.
Overwatch in 2021 is completely different.
While that is true, investors like Mark Cuban have stated that it’s not a great idea to invest in esports teams, whether they compete in Overwatch, Fortnite, or League of Legends.
Mark Cuban raises a great argument. Being the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, he knows all about investing in a sports team. What makes traditional sports like NBA different from esports is the Meta.
Simply put, when developers push out updates that change core parts of the game, like the ability to recharge the time of a certain hero, or the damage they can inflict, it might make certain heroes unplayable, while others might be OP.
This practically means that the players will have to change their playstyle often. This isn’t only tiring for the players, but it’s also confusing to most casual viewers. And on top of that, most players are earning the minimum salary that is offered, making this even worse for them.
The CEO of NRG, Andy Miller, has also gone on record saying that investing in the League, back in 2017-2018, was a “blunder”. He goes on to directly compare it to Call Of Duty, stating that Overwatch is just not on the level of other esports games.
However, there is a chance that this might all change shortly. With the upcoming release of Overwatch 2, there will certainly be much more traction coming to the Overwatch brand.
Speaking of brands, let’s take a look at how brand owners can benefit from Overwatch…
Real Overwatch Businesses
While the game has over 50 million players, I guarantee that the majority of them didn’t even know that Overwatch businesses exist.
You can see a full list of them here.
And even though they play no role in the actual game, they are good for lore purposes. And, they are even better for brands to advertise their products (a tactic known as “Advergaming”).
You see, League of Legends does something similar in big tournaments. While it’s not noticeable by many, during the Championships, Riot Games adds their main sponsors’ banners.
With Overwatch 2 coming out soon, you can imagine that it won’t be difficult for them to add a few extra real-world businesses to promote them. And it’s certainly a good opportunity for brands to guarantee a lengthy and stable advertisement.
Branded Overwatch Heroes
There are also users out there who have gone out of their way to give Blizzard and Activision new marketing ideas for new products. The user we’re going to talk about goes by the name of dcsmjs on Devian Art and TeePublic.
The user made a sticker for each hero in Overwatch. Then, he decided to create entire companies dedicated to each hero. Such examples are DVA Cola, the most colorful cola you’ll ever have, or Pharah Air, for fast and safe flights.
Blizzard’s Overwatch Merchandise
It was expected that Blizzard would have a merch store for Overwatch. Even though the game doesn’t have as big a following as other games, Activision Blizzard is still a huge company. And we can’t only have in-game skins, despite how cool they can be.
On Overwatch’s official merchandise store, you’ll be able to find everything. From Funko Pop! figurines to plushy toys to bags and clothes, this store has everything. You can even get Genji’s sword.
So that’s enough about the financial side of Overwatch. Let’s get to the fun stuff, by starting with how you can join or create an esports Overwatch team…
How To Create an Overwatch Esports Team?
So you want to play Overwatch professionally? That’s amazing. But you can’t do that alone. You’ll need a whole team to back you up.
You have to recruit some players to build up your roster. And, since most of you aren’t millionaires who can make up a roster of the best players in the game, you’ll have to either rely on your friends, or some players that you find online.
If none of your friends want to play Overwatch as seriously as you, then your best bet to find good teammates is Discord. But, you’ll be the leader of the team, which means that you’ll need to have the best communication with your recruits.
This can be difficult if you start playing with strangers. Maybe their playstyle doesn’t suit yours, or they aren’t cooperative enough.
In reality, if you want to get into Overwatch esports, then creating your team isn’t the best choice. It might take years before you can get lucrative sponsorships that will fund your way to the OWL.
So, what if you want to join an already established Overwatch esports team?
How To Join an Overwatch Esports Team?
The road to joining one of the top teams in OWL will be a difficult one. For starters, you will need to get good at the game. And I don’t mean getting a few kills here and there. You must be the best you can be.
This can be a really difficult task, especially when you start playing against players who are better than you. However, there are a few ways and tactics that you can implement in your playstyle to get better at Overwatch.
For example, you can always improve your communication with the team. You can do that by queuing up with your friends, or a premade roster. This way, you know what to expect from your team, and you might even have your cues for certain actions.
But, the best way that I’ve implemented when I want to get better in any game, whether it’s Overwatch or Tetris, is to watch the pros play. By watching the best of the best play the game, you can get an idea of their mentality and how they get out of sticky situations.
Once you’ve gained all that info, you can try to implement it in your gameplay. So not only will you get better at the game, but you’ll also understand how to get out of any bad situation in Overwatch.
There’s also a different route that you could follow…
Ever since esports became the booming industry that we know today, there are many colleges out there that offer “esports scholarships.”
It goes without saying that what we mentioned above should be followed if you want to be eligible for one of these scholarships.
So if you want to get noticed by college esports coaches, you’ll need to be good at the game, and also make a name for yourself. Once you’ve got your gameplay to a high enough level, you should start building up a following.
You can do that either by streaming on Twitch, Youtube, Mixer, and similar platforms.
Or, since TikTok has become huge, you can just post clips of your best plays. This way, you might get noticed by one of the coaches and land yourself a nice sponsorship.
We’ve also got a great way to get noticed if you’re a console player…
Console Gaming League
Also known as CGL, this League is at the midpoint between amateur and professional. They host tournaments for Xbox and PS4 players.
The tournaments work on a tier-based system. You can find more information about that on their website.
So you might be wondering why the CGL is noteworthy. Well, if you’re on console, it’s the best way to get recognized by an esports team or by a college esports coach.
Plus, it’s competitive, and all you need to have is a Discord account and the game.
But what if you’re not interested in any of this, and you just want to find some new friends to play Overwatch?
How to Find friends to play Overwatch With or Against
Any multiplayer game is better with friends. Especially if you’re a beginner.
It is such a great feeling to not get queued up with a toxic player for once.
Thankfully, there aren’t that many toxic players in Overwatch compared to other multiplayer games. So let’s check out the options you have if you want to add friends on Overwatch.
In-game Friends Request
Let’s say that you found a nice teammate. Or one of your friends bought the game and you want to play along with them.
How can you add them as friends on Overwatch?
It’s simple. Once you launch the game you need to click on the Friends icon located on the top right part of the screen. Then you just need to input their nickname on the search bar.
Make sure that you input the name correctly because there’s no auto-correct. If you’ve done that, then you should be seeing your friend’s gamer tag. Simply click on that and add them as friends.
Once they accept your friend request, they will show up on your friend’s list and you can invite them to your lobby.
Overwatch also has a “looking for group” feature. Apart from Blizzard’s “Looking for Group” forum, you can find groups in the actual game.
Simply press the play button and click on the “Find Group” option. Unlike other games, a group isn’t a clan. It’s your squad for that specific match. So if you want to play with that squad again, you’ll need to add them as friends and invite them to your group.
There’s also the option for Discord…
Top 4 Overwatch Discord Servers
Here are the best Overwatch Discord servers we could find:
#4 – Overwatch Open Division: The PC-only entry-level competitive division has its own discord server, with almost 30,000 members.
#3 – r/OverwatchUniversity: This community dedicates to help others with gameplay-related content (reviews, codes, and quick questions)
#2 – /r/overwatchleague: The official Discord of the /r/overwatchleague subreddit.
#1 – /r/Overwatch: This is the official Overwatch’s Discord server. Inside, you can find discussions about the game, its lore, workshop, or esports scene. As well as Looking For Group (LFG) channels for every platform.
Bonus! Overwatch League Official Team’s Discord Servers:
- Boston Uprising
- New York Excelsior
- Houston Outlaws
- Philadelphia Fusion
- London Spitfire
- Florida Mayhem
- Dallas Fuel
- San Francisco Shock
- LA Valiant
- LA Gladiators
- Seoul Dynasty
- Shanghai Dragons
- Toronto Defiant
- Atlanta Reign
- Chengdu Hunters
- Hangzhou Spark
- Paris Eternal
- Washington Justice
- Vancouver Titans
- Guangzhou Charge