Bad press, political pressure, angry fans and extremely negative rumours have defined Blizzard’s operations over the last few weeks. Now, its headline esports event also seems to be taking a turn for the worse as 12 teams have announced that they will not be attending the Overwatch World Cup (OWWC) 2019.
Those who have been following Malaysia’s OWWC team will have already read the unfortunate announcement from the team stating that they will be unable to attend the OWWC. In the announcement, the team’s manager Kenn Leandre explained that they had been promised funding from the “country’s sports governing body” (presumably Ministry of Youth and Sports), but were informed at the last minute that the funds would only be available at a later date, by which time the OWWC would have already ended.
Team Malaysia’s struggle to find adequate funding and support even after appealing to fans and several national companies is apparently not a unique situation, as 11 other teams have withdrawn from the OWWC citing similar reasons including a lack of support from Blizzard:
Many of the remaining teams taking part in the OWWC including team Singapore and team Japan are still facing some difficulties planning their trip, to the extent where fans have even compiled a master list to help keep track of which teams are still looking for donations and other forms of support in order to cover their travel costs.
The current strife and discontent of the participating teams do not bode well for Blizzard and the OWWC, as it seems like the renowned game company itself has failed to provide adequate information and support for the participating teams leading up to the event.
Last year, all teams received a minimum prize of USD 15,000 (~RM 62,678) for participating in the OWWC which helped teams to offset their travel costs, but there have been no concessions made by Blizzard for this year’s OWWC thus far, and the prize pool for the tournament has yet to be publicly announced.
With the OWWC scheduled to kick-off this week and discontent brewing among fans and competitors, we can’t help but feel like Blizzard is in such a dire situation right now that it doesn’t even have the time or resources to handle a major esports event like the OWWC.
For the sake of the fans and competitors who are still passionate about their game, we hope that the OWWC is able to proceed without further incident.