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Overwatch World Cup

Overwatch World Cup
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2019 Overwatch World Cup
Overwatch World Cup logo.svg
GameOverwatch
Inaugural season2016
No. of teams
  • 16 (2016)
  • 32 (2017)
  • 24 (2018)
  • 10 (2019)
ContinentInternational
Most recent
champion(s)
 United States
Most titles South Korea (3 titles)
TV partner(s)

The Overwatch World Cup (OWWC) is an annual international Overwatch esports tournament organized by Blizzard Entertainment, the game's developer. The current format involves a preliminary stage in which any national is allowed to compete in. The top five countries from the preliminary stage move on to the group stages, along with five automatically qualified teams. Three teams from each group advance to a single-elimination playoff bracket at Blizzard's BlizzCon event every November. The first three World Cups were won by South Korea, while the most recent one was won by the United States.

History

According to lead game director Jeff Kaplan, Overwatch was not developed with any dedication towards esports. Dan Szymborski of ESPN stated that Overwatch was poised as the next big esport for having a sufficiently different look and playstyle from established esports titles like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Call of Duty, enough variety in maps and characters, and strong support from Blizzard to maintain the game for a long time.[2] Bryant Francis writing for Gamasutra noted the speed and short match times of Overwatch make the game highly favorable for viewership, further supporting the title as an eSports title.[3] Overwatch's progression into eSports was described by Rolling Stone as a "strategy [that] involved carefully rolling out the game in steps – first a closed beta, then open beta, then full release, then a competitive mode and finally a league."[4]

In June 2016, the esports organizer ESL announced that they would host the first international Overwatch competition in August 2016, called Overwatch Atlantic Showdown.[5] The competition used four open qualifiers beginning in June, followed by regional qualifiers and then a final online qualifier. Eight teams then competed for a six-figure prize in the finals to be held at Gamescom 2016 from August 20–21.[6] Turner Broadcasting's ELeague announced the first Overwatch Open tournament, starting in July 2016, with a total prize pool of $300,000, with plans to broadcast the finals on Turner's cable channel TBS in September 2016.[7] In August 2016, Blizzard announced their own Overwatch international tournament, allowing users to vote for teams to represent their nation or region.[8][9] Over 3 million votes to decide national teams were cast.[10] The inaugural Overwatch World Cup was watched by 100,000 people at BlizzCon 2016.[11] The South Korean team won the tournament, defeating the Russian team 4–0 in the final round.[12]

In March 2017, Blizzard announced Overwatch World Cup 2017.[10] The selection of national teams for the 2017 World Cup was different from 2016 in that participating nations were required to vote for an Overwatch World Cup National Committee.[10] The National Committees were based upon nominations chosen by Blizzard; according to Blizzard, "analysts, coaches, statisticians, and other authorities" recommended rosters for all stages of the competition.[10][13] Blizzard announced the 2017 World Cup participants in April.[14] The 2017 World Cup experienced an issue with several players on the Chinese team being denied visas to enter the United States for the final round, causing four players on the team to be replaced by substitutes.[15][16]

Format

Prior tournaments

The 2016 format had four qualifying tournaments to thin the field for the final tournament,[17] while the 2017 and 2018 formats used an average skill rating of each country's top players to determine which countries qualified for the tournament.[13][18] Qualified teams were divided into round-robin style groups – 4 groups in 2016, 8 in 2017, and 4 in 2018.[19][20] In every year, teams that made it past the group stages moved on a single-elimination playoff bracket.

Current format

The 2019 World Cup will take place across three stages: preliminary rounds, group stages, and playoffs. A country's national ranking will be determined by a point-ranking system based on final placements in the previous World Cups. Any country wishing to participate is eligible to play in the preliminary rounds, a single-elimination, seeded bracket. The top five countries based on their national ranking will not have to play in the preliminary rounds and will have any automatic bye to the group stages. The seeding will be based on the national rankings, and the top five countries from the Preliminary Rounds will move on to the group stages.[21]

The Group Stages will take place on November 1, 2019. The ten countries competing in the group stages will be split evenly into two round-robin style groups. The top country from each group will move on to the semifinals, while the second- and third-placed countries in each group will move on to the quarterfinals.[21] The knockout stage will take place the following day on November 2. The six teams that move on from the group stages will participate in a single-elimination playoff. The winner of the finals will be awarded a gold medal, while the loser will be awarded silver. The two teams that lost in their respective semifinals match will play each other for the bronze medal.[21]

Broadcasting

The World Cup is broadcast through live stream channels via the Twitch platform.[22] Official live stream broadcast channels are provided in English, Chinese, Korean, French, Russian, German, Japanese, and Thai.[22] Other languages are broadcast through community–run channels on the official Overwatch World Cup team page.[22] Prior to the third edition of the event, Disney and Blizzard Entertainment announced a multiyear deal for coverage of Overwatch esports.[1]

Results

# Year Champions Score Runners-up Third Place Score Fourth Place No.
1 2016  South Korea 4–0  Russia  Sweden 2–1  Finland 16
2 2017  South Korea 4–1  Canada  Sweden 4–2  France 32
3 2018  South Korea 4–0  China  Canada 3–2
 United Kingdom
24
4 2019  United States 3–0  China  South Korea 3–0  France 10

All-time table for knockout round

No. Team App's Overall records Best finish
T S P W L MW ML MT MD
1  South Korea 4 +4 12 11 1 34 7 6 +27 Champion (2016, 2017, 2018)
2  United States 4 +4 5 2 3 9 9 2 ±0 Champion (2019)
3  China 4 +4 7 3 4 10 13 1 -3 Runner-up (2018, 2019)
4  Canada 2 -1 6 4 2 13 11 0 +2 Runner-up (2017)
5  Russia 1 -3 3 2 1 4 5 0 -1 Runner-up (2016)
6  Sweden 2 -2 5 2 3 13 8 1 +5 Third place (2016, 2017)
7  France 4 +4 5 4 5 13 20 1 -7 Fourth place (2017, 2019)
8  Finland 2 -1 4 1 3 3 8 1 -5 Fourth place (2016)
9  United Kingdom 2 -1 4 1 3 3 9 2 -6 Fourth place (2018)
10  Australia 2 -1 2 0 2 2 6 0 -4 Quarterfinal (2017, 2018)
11  Spain 1 -3 1 0 1 1 2 0 -1 Quarterfinal (2016)
12  Netherlands 1 +1 1 0 1 1 3 0 -2 Quarterfinal (2019)
13  Denmark 1 +1 1 0 1 0 3 2 -3 Quarterfinal (2019)

Source: OWWC

Awards

An MVP award for the Final Round of the OWC has been awarded since the inaugural tournament in 2016.

Overwatch World Cup MVPs
World Cup Country Ref.
2016 South Korea Gong "Miro" Jin-hyuk [23]
2017 Canada Félix "xQc" Lengyel [24]
2018 South Korea Bang "JJoNak" Sung-hyeon [25]
2019 United States Jay "sinatraa" Won [26]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Overwatch League comes to ESPN, Disney and ABC". ESPN. July 11, 2018. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  2. ^ Szymborski, Dan (April 28, 2016). "Why Overwatch is the next big esport". ESPN. Archived from the original on June 11, 2016. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  3. ^ Francis, Bryant (May 12, 2016). "Overwatch's biggest contribution to esports' growth: speed". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on June 16, 2016. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  4. ^ Crecente, Brian (February 2018). "'Overwatch': Birth of a Professional Esports League". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
  5. ^ Saedler, Philipp (June 10, 2016). "ESL to host first international Overwatch® competition with a six-figure prize pool at gamescom 2016". ESL Gaming. Archived from the original on June 12, 2016. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  6. ^ Chalk, Andy (June 10, 2016). "ESL announces first six-figure Overwatch tournament". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on June 13, 2016. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  7. ^ Paget, Mat (July 22, 2016). "Overwatch Heads to TV for a New Tournament". GameSpot. Archived from the original on July 24, 2016. Retrieved July 22, 2016.
  8. ^ "Get Ready for the Overwatch® World Cup". Play Overwatch. August 4, 2016. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  9. ^ O'Connor, James (August 5, 2016). "The Overwatch World Cup will take place during Blizzcon". VG247. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  10. ^ a b c d Chalk, Andy (March 29, 2017). "The 2017 Overwatch World Cup has already begun". PC Gamer. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  11. ^ Gilliam, Ryan (November 16, 2016). "How Blizzard is making Overwatch a successful esport, and where it needs to improve". Polygon. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
  12. ^ Lopez, Miguel (November 8, 2016). "Blizzcon 2016: What We Learned About 'Overwatch', 'Hearthstone' and More". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  13. ^ a b "The Overwatch World Cup Returns". Play Overwatch. March 29, 2017. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
  14. ^ Morrison, Sean (April 27, 2017). "Blizzard announces Overwatch World Cup participants". ESPN. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  15. ^ Hester, Blake (October 26, 2017). "Chinese 'Overwatch' Player Asks Blizzard for Help With American Visas in Open Letter". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  16. ^ Carpenter, Nicole (October 26, 2017). "Most of China's Overwatch World Cup team won't be at the tournament due to visa issues". Dot eSports. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  17. ^ "Overwatch World Cup Summer 2016 APAC Qualifiers - Results". ESL Play. September 2016. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
  18. ^ Mejia, Ozzie (March 27, 2018). "The Overwatch World Cup Returns For 2018". Shack News. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  19. ^ 2017 Overwatch World Cup | Here's How We Play. PlayOverwatch. YouTube. July 10, 2017. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
  20. ^ ESPN Esports (October 29, 2018). "Overwatch League -- everything you need to know". ESPN. Archived from the original on November 2, 2018. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  21. ^ a b c Viana, Bernardo (April 25, 2019). "The Overwatch World Cup 2019 is coming in November, Blizzard reveals". Dot Esports. Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  22. ^ a b c "Overwatch World Cup Group Stage Talent Team and Where to Watch". July 6, 2017. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
  23. ^ Erzberger, Tyler (November 9, 2016). "Miro talks Overwatch World Cup, South Korea and the esport's future". ESPN. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
  24. ^ Alonzo, Damian (November 9, 2017). "Win or lose, the Overwatch World Cup was full of great storylines". PC Gamer. Retrieved March 2, 2018.
  25. ^ Reuters (November 3, 2018). "South Korea wins third straight Overwatch World Cup". ESPN. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  26. ^ Michael, Cale (November 3, 2019). "Team USA defeat China to win 2019 Overwatch World Cup". Dot Esports. Retrieved November 3, 2019.

External links