The two franchised leagues in esports, the OWL and CDL, have been working together to provide 'pandemic-proof' formats.
The global pandemic has sent esports into turmoil. Whilst the gaming scene thrived due to lockdowns and much more spare time, the esports level has suffered. The cancellation of events across most titles has been crippling with a serious loss of revenue for each team, the league organisers, and the game developers themselves. Even the titles that managed to host events had to do so behind closed doors, such as the League of Legends World Championships, resulting in a huge financial loss.
Activision Blizzard was hit harder than most. The Overwatch League (OWL) and Call of Duty League (CDL) are two competitions that offer a franchised league and almost work in unison. Both leagues owned by the developers switched to an online format to allow the leagues to continue, both of which came with their difficulties too. With the CDL as the guinea pig, the OWL was able to learn from the mishaps and understand what went well and what didn't.
Now, the two leagues have bashed heads to develop a "pandemic proof" format for the 2020/21 seasons.
Adam Mierzejewski, Senior Manager of the Overwatch League Operations Team, stated "I really love working with the folks over there," according to The Loadout.
He continued by saying "Being able to work alongside them with two different products but with the same goal to elevate players on a global scale is great. We have the same mission statement in a lot of ways and having someone to work with and bounce ideas off is really fun and much needed".
The shift to online tournaments was adopted by the Overwatch League after the trials and tribulations of the CDL. Overall, the first online event was a success, despite some connection issues and rulings that hadn't been thought of. Here, the OWL was able to learn and build on it. Mierzejewski added: "I talked to their ops team and asked them how they did it, why they did it, and what came as a result of that is what you saw".
The future looks to be positive, despite no information on whether we will be able to attend LAN events, or whether we'll be tuning in via Twitch and YouTube again. With both leagues working together, the best minds ion esports will hopefully make the upcoming season as smooth as possible.
Image via Activision