Blizzard commits to "revitalized esports program" as players wave OWL goodbye

Overwatch 2
(Image credit: Blizzard)

After a tearful goodbye on stage during the 2023 grand finals, it appears Overwatch League is indeed dead - but Blizzard says a "revitalized esports program" is in the works.

"With the completion of the 2023 Overwatch League season, we will be focusing on building our vision of a revitalized esports program," a message from the official Overwatch League account on Twitter says. "We're eager to share more with you as details are finalized."

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As that message suggests, there really aren't any clear indicators of what comes next for officially sanctioned Overwatch esports. Overwatch League itself is not yet officially dead - at least not according to any Blizzard announcement - but earlier this year, an investor report revealed that OWL teams would soon vote on updated terms with Blizzard. If the teams did not agree, they would each receive a $6 million termination fee.

But even without a final word on whether the teams are taking the money and leaving, for most observers, the writing for Overwatch League's end seems to be on the wall. If there was any room left to speculate that the league might live, it ended over the weekend when Overwatch League presenters took to the stage and shared an emotional message after what might have been the competition's final games.

Overwatch League was always an odd duck, eschewing esports standards for a format more similar to traditional North American sports leagues, where franchised teams compete over the course of a season for position in an annual playoff series. Activision Blizzard revisited the same format for Call of Duty League.

Overwatch 2 has met with quite some skepticism from longtime fans, including a massive pile of negative reviews for its Steam release.

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.