The ambitious Overwatch League, the most expensive esports bet ever floated, is seemingly no more, with Blizzard confirming that it will take competitive Overwatch "in a new direction." An OWL spokesperson released a statement to GGRecon, which announced the news in no uncertain terms:
"We are transitioning from the Overwatch League and evolving competitive Overwatch in a new direction. We are grateful to everyone who made OWL possible and remain focused on building our vision of a revitalized esports program. We are excited to share details with you all in the near future."
The future of OWL has been in dispute for some time now. In July, Activision Blizzard's second-quarter financial results, came with some interesting caveats. One included a provision that if the teams playing in the OWL opted not to sign onto an updated agreement, they would be eligible for a $6 million cash payout.
Remember that buying into the Overwatch League cost the 12 founding teams $20 million each, with later teams paying between $35 and $60 million to participate. Activision Blizzard had previously noted that Overwatch League earnings compromised less than one per cent of the company's total net revenue.
Perhaps this shouldn't come as such a surprise, as nothing lasts forever. Launching six years ago, OWL had the benefit of Overwatch being one of the most popular games on the planet. Fast forward to today, and Overwatch 2 seems to lurch from update to update, with an increasingly shrinking pool of diehard fans.