Is Overwatch Dead? League Viewership Dips Over 50%

The 2020 Overwatch League happened over two weeks ago, earning a huge victory for the Francisco Shock team. While the league seemed to conclude without any other major events, escharts just revealed a shocking fact. In previous years, the Overwatch League gathered over 120 thousand average views, worldwide. However, in 2020, the numbers barely scraped half of this amount, falling short at a shocking 46 thousand average views.

To be precise, the 2020 Overwatch League had 61.4% less viewers than last years’ final season. The crushing numbers reveal something loyal fans may not be ready to hear—Overwatch, as an esport, has failed massively and proved to be disappointing, to say the least. While other eSports Leagues saw a drastic increase in their viewership and participation (mostly thanks to COVID-19 confinement), Overwatch went the other way around. It seems as if the fact that there were more people available to engage in eSports was irrelevant for the Overwatch eSports scene.

To further understand and illustrate the vast change, it is worth mentioning that in 2019, viewership peaked at nearly 320 thousand viewers. In comparison, the 2020 League bombed at a peak of barely 183 thousand views. Despite 2019’s second season being most streamed than the first season, 2020’s first season was an epic fail.

What are the reasons behind this drop? Is Overwatch becoming overshadowed by new, similar games, such as Valorant? Are the teams just not that great? Many speculate that part of this year’s failure was because of the decision to split the league into two regions. There was a significantly less interest in the Wester Pacific Region than in the Atlantic Division. While this might be valid, I believe it is not the sole reason behind the drop. It seems that now, more than ever, Overwatch eSports is struggling to stay afloat.

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