Overwatch League is getting roasted for this bad tournament setup

Overwatch League
(Image credit: @poko on Twitter)

Overwatch League's latest pro gaming setup is getting roasted by fans and participants alike on social media.

Gael 'Poko' Gouzerch posted an image of the setup on Twitter just before the start of this week's Midseason Madness tournament, with the cautious message that "tomorrow should be… exciting?!!" The image shows two sets of desks crammed up closely against each other, conjuring images of opposing teams kicking each other under the table when things get heated.

The setup endured plenty of criticism from fans and the esports community. One of the most notable complaints came from Houston Outlaws coach Jacob 'Jake' Lyon. "Nonstandard competition desks (who plays with a curved desk?) and players easily close enough to hear each other’s comms especially between rounds. We were told this morning that nothing is going to be changed or fixed."

Even Blizzard's own venerable host Soe 'Soembie' Gschwind said "At this point I am convinced someone was actively trying to put together a 2008 LAN throwback setup. Like...wut?! If I can either throw hands or play footsies with my opponent, I am too close."

While Poko's image does, indeed, make this look like a bad way to play an esport, the setup does look a bit different now that the tournament has gotten underway. An image from a break during a match between Florida Mayhem and Houston Outlaws, which you can see below, shows that the desks have been moved further apart, a cloth backing has been added, and a straight-edged table top has been added.

Overwatch League

(Image credit: Overwatch League)

Still, it's a far cry from the plans for multi-million dollar Overwatch League arenas that were put on pause due to the COVID pandemic.

The Midseason Madness tournament is actually taking place at the same venue as last year's playoffs and Grand Finals, at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Overwatch League is currently split between teams based in Asia (the East division) and the rest of the world (the West division), as continued COVID restrictions make international travel difficult.

The University of Hawaiʻi offers access to a low-latency internet line, allowing West teams to fly in and compete against East teams remaining at home, with performance as close as possible to a local connection.

Despite appearances, this Overwatch League setup apparently isn't cheap. Last year, Sportico reported that the league was paying the University of Hawaiʻi $20,000 per visit for access to its facilities and internet connection.

Overwatch 2 is now in beta, and is set to fully replace the original game as of its October launch.

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.