Blizzard Entertainment recently announced the “Overwatch Open Division,” a program aimed at helping aspiring individuals reach their dreams of becoming pro. It will, as described, be “the proving ground where players can test their strengths as teammates.”
Currently, these are the requirements to compete in the Overwatch Open Division:
- Players must have obtained a skill rating of at least 3500 during the season immediately preceding the current tournament season of the Overwatch in-game competitive queue.
- All players must at least be 13 years old.
- Players can only play within their respective regions Overwatch Open Division. A player’s region will be dictated based off the region labeled within their Battlenet account.
Blizzard forgot to leave one important thing out of these requirements. Something so crucial that it keeps me from participating in such things entirely. And this is where my issue begins.
I play a ton of Overwatch; way more than I should, to be perfectly honest. It’s easily one of my favorite games of all time, behind only a very select few. Since I play Overwatch extensively, it’s no surprise that I’m good at the game. And I’m not trying to brag here. Anyone who plays Overwatch and sticks to it improves over time.
During my time with the game, have become better and better, and continue to improve with each game played. In season 4 I managed to break into Grandmaster, which is only one rank away from the top 500 players in my region. Season 5 of competitive Overwatch has recently begun, and I’ve managed to go even higher, although I’m not yet to top 500. (Soon, hopefully!)
So let’s see. I’ve broken Blizzard’s requirements for being at least a Master-tier player. I’m pretty sure I’m older than 13. And of course I will be playing in my region. That’s fantastic! So now I can start building a team, and competing with other great players, right?
Wrong! You see, the issue with Blizzard’s requirements is that you must have a PC to take part in the Overwatch Open Division. Overwatch is a multi-platform game, and I myself play on console.
I will admit, I was excited when I read up on the news. “Great, a chance at getting recognized. A chance at maybe even going pro.” Something that probably won’t happen, but a chance nonetheless. It was annoying, but I also expected to find out that this would be exclusive to the PC player base. For a while I just accepted the fact that if you want to have a shot at going pro, you have to play Overwatch on PC. A question popped in my mind though: Why?
Why do I, along with so many others who are just as passionate about Overwatch as any PC player, have to be left out? It makes no sense to me, and I don’t see how it makes sense to Blizzard. To be fair, there are issues surrounding PC and console Overwatch in general. Such as the mouse and keyboard dilemma. Whether or not players on one should be able to use their devices to play better than the other. And if Sony and Microsoft should allow Overwatch on their respective consoles to be compatible for accessibility.
I recently had a conversation with a few other Obilisk contributors. It was very insightful, and I thought it supported my argument for some sort of official pro league for console Overwatch.
“Shouldn’t they (Blizzard) want to have more leagues? More leagues is just more money. Each platform has a strong enough community to support it,” said Alex.
Ken added: “The fact that Blizzard is excluding the console player base doesn’t exactly give me confidence in their desire to make Overwatch a real esport.”
Blizzard is a large company. Hell, they have their own convention every year. So while I understand that this would cost them money and be a risk, I still think there’s massive potential for success and a end scenario where everyone wins. If there is an audience that would support a console Overwatch league — and I believe there definitely is — then it’s a risk worth taking.
There are so many other minor issues involved with console Overwatch on top of what I’ve been discussing that many players are starting to feel neglected. Examples include a lack of a report system (which is finally on it’s way), and limited command options. PC players are also able to communicate with everyone in matches through text chat. I know it’s not a necessity, but it would be nice to have that option. Rocket League is a game that supports text chat on console, so why not have the same for Overwatch? These are minor differences, yet differences that make us feel excluded. Issues that, combined, do have an effect.
It must be said that this issue doesn’t take away from my love of Overwatch, and it shouldn’t take away from all of the hard work Blizzard puts into the game. I’m just extremely passionate about this, and I want Blizzard to give its console audience some acknowledgement and love. It’s easy to feel like a second-class citizen when it comes to playing Overwatch on console. So I think I speak for a lot of people playing Overwatch competitively on consoles when I talk about this problem.
In other news, Overwatch‘s anniversary event recently ended. Were you able to get all of the cosmetics you wanted? There was a ton of controversy surrounding its loot box system while the event was going on. Though I agree with some of it, I tend to enjoy exclusivity.
A new map was also revealed, and personally I couldn’t be more excited. Horizon Lunar Colony comes out today (June 20th). Blizzard discussed it’s features in detail with a video they released last week. Gravity will have a role in this map, and it’s something new and exciting Blizzard will be testing. You can check out the official trailer if you’re interested. We can expect balance changes along with the patch as well. Roadhog was revealed to be getting a few tweaks to his gun and hook ability, which will no longer allow him to instantly eliminate over half of the roster. Reaper is having his health orbs removed in favor of simply gaining health when damage is dealt. Be sure to check out the full patch notes here if you’re interested.
What do you think? Do you want an official Overwatch league on console? Do you love competitive Overwatch like I do? Are you excited for Horizon Lunar Colony? Shoot us a follow over on our Twitter @ObiliskGames and let us know how you feel!