Brandon 'Seagull' Larned has spoken out about the OWL contract he refused to sign before his retirement from Overwatch in 2018.
Brandon "Seagull" Larned isn't holding back and has revealed a restrictive Overwatch League contract he and his teammates refused to sign. The former OWL pro was part of Dallas Fuel and was a major player in 2017's OWL before his retirement in August 2018. These days, Seagull is remembered for his streaming. Back in the day, his Overwatch streams would regularly pull in 30,000 concurrent viewers - making him one of Twitch's biggest names.
There have been plenty of scandalous whispers when it comes to the inner workings of OWL, and now, Seagull is clearing some of the myths up. Interestingly, Seagull's revelation comes just after Call of Duty League participant Seth "Scump" Abner pushed for a Players Union and called out the CDL for its stronghold over players and their lives outside the tournament.
OWL players were given a set of streaming rules/policies at the player's summit to sign.
Included were clauses signing away my rights to my streaming platform and the right to criticize the game "Overwatch"
My team did not sign. We walked.
Seagull's critiques of Overwatch come off the back of Scump's complaints. When Scump went on the assault against CDL, Seagull chimed in with his own story about OWL. Starting with "COD players aren't alone on this one", Larned confirmed that OWL had a similar mandate of rules that dictated what players could and couldn't do. Seagull continued, "OWL players were given a set of streaming rules/policies at the player's summit to sign. Included were clauses signing away my rights to my streaming platform and the right to criticize the game 'Overwatch' My team did not sign. We walked".
Even if Seagull and his teammates were unhappy with the contracts, at least they represented a united front. Of course, Larned played in 2018's OWL - albeit after a renogotiation. Both the CDL and OWL are run by Activision Blizzard, meaning the problem could be to do with the company in particular. That being said, there are stories about Riot Games having a similarly strict stance when it comes to the competitive League of Legends scene.
Only recently, Seagull called for Overwatch players to unionise. The retired player cited the lengthy off-season and April 2021 delay for its restart. Seagull said that this being coupled with the upcoming release of Overwatch 2 will mean organisations are trying to save money wherever possible and could drop any player at any time.
Looking at esports in general though, no top game has a player's union. The closest we have is the Counter-Strike Professional Player’s Association, while the likes of OWL and CDL trail behind. Whether the recent drama with Scump and Seagull's comments lead to something more remains to be seen. No matter what, it sounds like players are calling for change across the board.
Images via Dallas Fuel | OWL | Blizzard Entertainment