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Blizzard’s Mike Morhaime Discusses Future Of Overwatch League



Blizzard is seeing some amazing things with the Overwatch League, a smash hit for the company and certainly for Twitch, which broadcasts the events and is easily one of their most popular Twitch streams ever.

Blizzard boss Mike Morhaime was at DICE last week and participated in an interview with Polygon where he discussed the future of the league and what keeps him going even after his monumental successes.

”We’re heads down” Morhaime said. “Focused on what we’re doing in the office, day in and day out. But it becomes real when we’re at a live event with real people. I see what kind of impact we have on them.

”Or when I sometimes travel overseas to some obscure places, I see Blizzard fans who’ve been playing our games for years. Just hearing the stories of what being part of this community has meant to them … that’s the moment that puts it in perspective and I realize that we’re having an impact on a lot of people.”

Morhaime also discussed his impact on the games Blizzard makes now that the company is much bigger.

“Everybody at Blizzard has to do everything I tell them,” Morhaime joked. “I’m just kidding. My input is about as much as you any other passionate person at Blizzard. Our teams are very in tune with their games and with what the community wants. They’re usually pretty far ahead of me when it comes to thinking about what’s what’s right for the game. But I can offer some opinions, you know, and they’ll take that into account. But I don’t want them doing everything that I suggest.”

Morhaime continued to say that he “still more to do,” in his creation of games, with his passion lying in multi-player gaming.

Morhaime sees big things for the future of the Overwatch League.

”The stuff I’m most passionate about is creating experiences that are bringing people together,” he said. “Like esports. I’m very excited about the stuff that’s going on with Overwatch League.”

”With esports, we’re at an inflection point right now,” Morhaime said. “There’s a lot of interest from sponsors, traditional sports owners and media companies who are all trying to make sense of what’s happening. They’re figuring out how to become involved.”

Morhaime also pointed out how Overwatch has differentiated itself from other games in eSports.

“We had the ability to intentionally design the ecosystem in a thoughtful way, modeled after what we’ve learned in regular sport and from esports over the years,” Morhaime said. “Our take was to fix some of the problems that exist.”

Morhaime points to the hometown model of regular sports and expresses his interest in that concept.

“For a lot of the other esports, it’s really tough for the team owners to make any money. We want a system that allows the team owners to be able to run a profitable business, to build something that they own, that will have value.”

“We’re building [Overwatch League] up to a point where they will have the rights to their own local venues,” he said. “They’ll be able to do all the things that traditional sports teams are able to do, like merchandise, concessions and sponsorship. Building a loyal, local fan-base around the teams will help create celebrity around players.”

Morhaime also discusses the toxicity in games, such as Overwatch, and was asked what he is doing to combat the growing issues in the multiplayer gaming community.

”This is a topic we feel is very important,” he said. “We’re looking at it from a lot of different angles. We’ve tried machine learning to identify toxic speech within the games and I think we’ll continue iterating on that.

”Players certainly have the ability to report other players when they see somebody else violating rules. We’re iterating on our penalties to try to make them more effective and more of a deterrent. But this is a big problem and I’m not suggesting that we have solved it.”

Read the entire interview over at Polygon.



Riot Games Discusses League of Legends Esports



Riot Games

There is no denying that the esports industry, as a whole, has experienced it’s fair share of struggles financially and those struggled have also hit Riot GamesLeague of Legends esports division, which still has not generated a profit.

Riot Games’ senior director of esports operations Raul Fernandez spoke about those challenges during the League Championship Series Summer finals last weekend stating that Riot Games were “trying to find their footing” and “a way to refresh our league” in light of declining viewership numbers, according to Axios.

“It’s been an interesting year for esports across the globe, but despite the hardships at Riot, we’re very much excited for the future and potential of esports, especially for the LCS,” Fernandez said, per Dot Esports.

“I just wanted to make it very loud and clear that the LCS is in a very healthy position financially because of this sustained and continued support from both external partners, the team side, from sponsors, as well as internally.”

The rise of live-streaming and an esports streaming platform hasn’t turned the tide as the LCS Summer finals saw a 21.8% drop in peak viewership compared to the LCS Spring finals, according to Esports Charts.

The troubling trends have been a focus for esports journalists covering the industry and Fernandez said one of the biggest challenges is the “complexity” of League of Legends. The report goes on to note that continuous updates and an expanded roster of characters “has made it hard for Riot games to sell in-game items themed to top players or teams” pointing to the choice for fans of the competition.

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G2 Esports CEO On Unpaid Leave Following Sharing of Video with Andrew Tate



G2 Esports

G2 Esports CEO Carlos Rodriguez has agreed to take eight weeks of unpaid leave from the company following the sharing of a video on Twitter of himself partying with controversial creator Andrew Tate, who has been banned on platforms such as YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook for violations of terms of services, including instances of hate speech and misogyny.

Rodriguez accompanied the 8-second video that featured Tate and himself with: “Yesterday we celebrated G2’s world championship.” The video prompted immediate backlash which has marred G2 Esports’ 2022 League of Legends European Championship spring season and summer season successes.

Rodriguez fired back at the criticism the video received: “Nobody will ever be able to police my friendships. I draw my line here. I party with whoever the fuck I want.”

G2 Esports issued the following on Sunday: “Last night we failed you. The actions of our CEO spoke a language in stark contrast with the value and the culture G2 lives by and strives for. And for that we apologize.

“Since our creation, we have worked hard to build a safe and inclusive environment to enjoy esports. These are just small steps in the right direction we need to take as a company. We’ll continue to do our best each and every day to improve ourselves and the industry at large.”

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NAVI Releasing Documentary on s1mple




NAVI is getting set to release a documentary that will follow s1mple’s life and explore his “ups and downs” as one of the most recognizable esports players with insight from former and current teammates, his family, commentators, analysts, and “many others” from the industry.

“I remember the time when we just signed a contract in 2016,” NAVI CEO Yevhen Zolotarov said in an official press release. “Honestly, now it’s hard to believe that it was already five years ago. For the esports industry, five years is quite a long period of time.”

“S1mple is a legend not only for NAVI but for esports in general,” co-founder and CEO of DMarket Vlad Panchenko said. “Therefore, the items that will be dropping during the NAVI watch party stream are also legendary and unique.”

DMarket has created a “unique drop-game” with exclusive items dedicated to s1mple to coincide with the release of the doc, and Natus Vincerewill be premiering a documentary about him on Twitch next month, to celebrate his fifth year with the brand.

Additionally, a NAVI watch party is also set for the doc, set to air on one of their upcoming twitch streams set to take place on September 8th at 11am CT.

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