Overwatch League progress report: So far, so goodThe ambitious inaugural season of Blizzard's popular first-person shooter is about to start its second stage, but is the League doing what it takes to turn casual gamers into esports fanatics? Here's our first report card.
[MUSIC] [APPLAUSE] Overwatch League is about to kick off the second stage of it's inaugural season. I've been attending lots of games, and keeping an eye on the goings on here. But, are they making the grade? Here's my report card thus far. Quality. One of the biggest complaints about eSports is always that you're a hardcore superfan, it's a nightmare keeping tabs on things like tournaments, teams and players. On top of that, the quality of those events can vary wildly. Those aren't issues at all in. [UNKNOWN] is next level, with broadcast standards made to look like you're watching any other professional sports like the NFL or the NBA. The casters sometimes get buried a hair too deep in jargon and concepts that new viewers might find foreign, but overall they do a really great job. Between the ridiculously cool Blizzard Arena, high-quality broadcast, and professional presentation, this is where Overwatch League gets a big fat A. Clarity. I'll try to explain Overwatch League's inaugural season quickly. It's split into four stages, each stage last five weeks and ends with a kind of mini championship where the winning team gets a cash bonus. When the regular season ends in mid-June, teams have a month to prep for the play offs, which start July 11th and end July 28th. With two teams duking it out for the title of Overwatch League Champion, and a $1 million bonus. Stages make the season a little bit confusing, but overall, it's an okay structure. It also feels a little bit weird to wait a month between a regular season and the playoffs, particularly because fans should be at their most excited at that point. So I'll give this one a B-. Minus consistency. One of the things Overwatch League Commissioner Nate Nanzer insists upon is consistency, the idea being that if it's a certain day, during a certain time of the year, you know there's Overwatch League happening. They've done a nice job of this with three matches everyday Wednesday through Saturday. I ran into a couple of instances during stage 1, round 2 being at the wrong time of the day but the league has already addressed this issue Going forward, all weekdays will start at 4.00pm pacific time and Saturdays at 1.00pm pacific. That's much easier for fans to follow, A-. Engagement, Overwatch league actually does have one key thing going forward. It's really fun to watch. The arena is a blast to attend, but since there's currently only one in existence, it makes it tough for anyone not local to LA to check out. Watching the game itself can be a little fast paced for non-gamer to follow, but the observer teams and the spectator tools Blizzard added late last year have helped solved some of those issues. Fans of the league are already deeply invested from water cooler chats in game about the previous day's matches, to showing up in full cosplay to root for their favorite teams. I've yet to see someone get into Overwatch league who wasn't already a huge fan of the game though. So, I'll give this one a B. Accessibility, Twitch reportedly paid over 90 million bucks to snag the exclusive rights to stream Overwatch leagues first two seasons. That's a lot of cash for something so unproven and the exclusivity is kind of a double edge sword, much like spending Sundays watching NFL games. I wanna watch over watch league all day long on the biggest screen possible, my television. Unfortunately Twitch doesn't have official apps on either Roku or Apple TV. Yeah, I know I can access Twitch on Playstation 4 and if you have an Amazon Fire TV, this isn't a problem at all. But when you consider there's a huge potential group of casual viewers who may find this to be one step too far to check out something they're only mildly curious about, It's worth serious criticism. Also it's super rad the games tells you when overwatch league is live but accessing the streaming on PS4, XBOX ONE opens a console browser window which is terrible. Lots to improve here I know but ultimately not a total disaster so C-. I think [UNKNOWN] using pretty good shape. But if it once to get eyeballs aren't already fans of the game. There are a couple of areas they can definitely improve upon. Stage two starts on February 21st. But only time will tell [UNKNOWN] league can achieve its very ambitious goals. Overall, I give them a solid B+. Now, where can I stick this report card? Guess I'll just leave it right here. Someone will find it. [BLANK_AUDIO]