Report: Overwatch League To Go On Potential 'Year-Long Hiatus' Before Season 5 [Updated]
In response to this report, Overwatch League VP at Blizzard, Jon Spector, has said in a Tweet: "We have not set nor communicated dates about our 2022 season yet but do not plan to take a 'year-long hiatus' in any scenario we are considering currently." However, GGRecon has received reports from multiple sources within Overwatch League regarding the hiatus. We will update this report with any further information.
According to multiple sources within the Overwatch League, the league office has told teams that the fifth season of the Overwatch League is going to be delayed past its usual starting point in the first half of the year. Sources are dating the suggested start of the League in late summer at the earliest, with its likely starting point being mid-fall.
The reason given to the teams is a delayed launch of Overwatch’s sequel Overwatch 2, which the League wants to play next year’s season on. Whether or not this clearly dates the release of Overwatch 2 in that time frame is currently unknown.
With potentially a year-long break between the end of Overwatch League season 4 and season 5, sources in team positions have shared with GGRecon that at least some teams are looking to not renew existing contracts with their rosters, citing a lack of competitions within that time frame. Some teams have informed their players of said possibility at the time of writing.
The decision had already been communicated to teams several weeks ago, being dated before the most recent scandal in regards to cultural issues within the Blizzard offices, and thus is unlikely to be connected.
The Overwatch League has recently been in the news due to a lawsuit issued by the Californian Department of Fair Employment, alleging that women had been sexually harassed and given unequal pay fuelled by a "frat boy" culture within the Blizzard offices. As a result of the lawsuit and the public backlash, multiple sponsors had pulled their sponsorships off the Overwatch League.