Blizzard has confirmed that the Overwatch League will undergo some adjustments in 2023. This came when Activision Blizzard’s Chinese games publisher, NetEase, and the developer, Blizzard Entertainment, had an argument that led to the removal of Overwatch 2 from Chinese servers.
Despite this change, Blizzard claims to anticipate “a full slate of teams from the East and West,” indicating that there are safeguards in place for Chinese players and teams. What these modifications are and whether they require players to leave China for an extended period of time is unknown at this moment.
Activision Blizzard Esports’ head of communications, Brad Crawford, is excited about the next 2023 season because of the League’s alterations. We’ve been hard at work behind the scenes ironing out the details, and we want to share more with the community in the coming weeks.
For Crawford’s part, he argues that the recent developments in China shouldn’t force any teams to pull out of the Overwatch League. When the sixth season of OWL begins, we anticipate a full complement of teams from both the East and West divisions.
We were also informed that an official update video covering all we can anticipate from OWL in 2023 would be released the following week.
With the Chinese Overwatch League team Chengdu Hunters tweeting “goodbye” yesterday, right before Overwatch 2 was pulled offline, this should set some minds at ease. This reassurance, however, suggests that they were merely bidding farewell to the game on behalf of Chinese players, who will have to wait for quite some time before they can enjoy it again.
The company will need to find a new Chinese business partner if it ever wants to return to the Chinese market. Considering its 14-year partnership with NetEase, breaking away from that partnership is not expected to be a simple process. Who Activision Blizzard decides to team up with next is still up in the air.