Blizzard’s Overwatch esports plans seem to be going very well, as the first seven Overwatch League teams were announced earlier this week. But as one first-person shooter under the Activision banner dives into the esports pool, could another one of its FPS juggernauts be set to join it?
According to a new report, the answer is yes. A report from Richard Lewis explains that “Activision Blizzard have openly communicated to these brands their intention to run a similar league for their Call of Duty series.” The plans for some sort of Call of Duty League are in the “very early stages,” though the launch date could be “as soon as six months after the Overwatch League becomes active.”
Lewis’ report also states that those who control an Overwatch League territory should not necessarily expect to control the same territory for the Call of Duty League. As Overwatch League buy-ins reportedly cost $20 million, Lewis notes that having to buy in again to control the territory for another game represents “an incredibly poor return” on that investment. One source calls this an “awful deal” and said that “a deal of this size with a developer should be a mutually beneficial partnership.”
Concerns about payment will not be the only thing on fans’ and sponsors’ minds when it comes to the Call of Duty League. Although Overwatch can often prove divisive when developer Blizzard buffs and nerfs certain characters (like Roadhog) at players may not be happy with the meta of the game, things are not especially disruptive.
In comparison, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare saw mass hate last year as fans just weren’t happy with its futuristic setting. Groups that may be interested in investing in a Call of Duty League may fear that fans will turn on the franchise – and the league – because of the year-to-year changes. When a company is putting in millions of dollars into a project, the last thing it wants is a fan revolt.
Some will also have questions about the long-term future of the Call of Duty franchise. While Blizzard’s new multiplayer game continues to grow, with Overwatch now having over 25 million players, Call of Duty is well past its prime and sales continue to decline each year.
Having many millions of players is a great thing but how many of them will still be around in the time it takes for the Call of Duty League to gain a foothold and to make that money back for investors? This is just another thing that those developing the initiative will have to answer.
Overwatch is available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. Call of Duty: WW2 releases November 3, 2017 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
Source: Richard Lewis