Blizzard, the developers of popular games like World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, and Overwatch, have been facing a lot of trouble as of late. With the recent round of layoffs, the effective end of Heroes of the Storm‘s esports scene, as well as the debacle around Diablo Immortal to name a few. Not only that, but Overwatch, their massively successful First Person Shooter (FPS) game, has been declining in revenues for months on end.
In fact, the most recent estimates suggest a 15-percent decline year-to-year. Around the world in South Korea, Overwatch is also on the decline, dropping to third place with about seven percent of all PC Bang usage. PC Bangs are a popular way to play games in South Korea.
Viewership is on the Decline
These numbers are alarming, and the recent news regarding the staff behind Overwatch League (OWL) is unsettling as well. Recently, the commissioner of the OWL left for a competitor studio. Also, the senior esports staff of Blizzard said they were leaving the company after facing frustrations from working there. Furthermore, the viewership of the OWL has been on the decline. Despite a spike in viewership at the start of this season, viewership was largely stagnant for the rest of the season, according to the eSportsObserver.
Is the OWL Sustainable?
All these factors, combined with the massive buy-in price teams pay to get into the OWL begs the question of whether the OWL is sustainable. The answer is no due to the rate that Overwatch has been declining in popularity and financially. Also, other FPS games like Fortnite or Apex Legends contend for both financial as well as esports dominance.
However, Blizzard is not taking this lightly. They gave invested in ways to make Overwatch a game players can enjoy for years to come. Not that long ago, they announced the long-awaited “Replays” feature that countless fans have requested since the introduction of Overwatch. It remains to be seen if Blizzard can right this ship. But one thing is for certain, they are trying to.