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What Microsoft buying Activision Blizzard means for Overwatch League, Call of Duty League

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Electronics giant Microsoft announced today that it would be acquiring Activision Blizzard for a $68.7 billion cash deal, bringing games like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch under the same proverbial roof as Halo and other Xbox legacy titles.

This acquisition means change is in the air for many of Activision Blizzard’s most popular games, not to mention possible additions to the wildly popular Xbox GamePass. Fans of Blizzard’s biggest esports leagues, however, are looking down the pipeline and asking what this will mean for them. 

The Call of Duty League and Overwatch League have both had a few rough years thanks to COVID-19 cancellations and various Activision Blizzard missteps, but how will this acquisition change the future for these leagues? 

More money, fewer problems? 

With Microsoft buying ATVI stock at $95 a share in cash, that’s a boost in available funds no matter what way you look at it. Some of that windfall might make its way to the esports leagues (after the Halo Championship Series takes its share) and fans could see immediate improvements.  

More money could mean better production quality, better equipment, and higher-quality broadcasts. Both leagues lost significant income due to COVID-19, thanks to the widespread cancellation of live events, and Microsoft’s investment could give a boost to the leagues’ bottom lines. 

The 2022 Call of Duty League season is scheduled to have live events in Dallas, Minnesota, Toronto, and New York for the season’s four majors, while the destination for the CDL Playoffs remains unannounced. This leaves eight organizations within the league that will not host a live event this year, with some teams who have yet to host a single home series since the inception of the league. While this can be chalked up to the difficulty of hosting events amid the COVID-19 pandemic, live events are a staple in esports and something the CoD scene desperately needs more of to get back to its peak.

With the success of the HCS so far, it could be an incentive for Microsoft to invest even more into its esports ecosystem with the CDL and OWL coming on board.  

Sponsorship overhauls 

In the wake of multiple lawsuits levied at Activision Blizzard due to a “frat boy” culture and allegations of misconduct in July 2021, multiple big-name sponsors pulled their logos from OWL and CDL broadcasts. State Farm and Coca-Cola assessed their relationships with the OWL; Kellogg’s severed ties immediately. ASTRO Gaming also disappeared from the CDL sponsor list.  

With Microsoft overseeing the culture of Activision Blizzard during the transition, sponsors may be willing to return to the leagues and expand within Microsoft’s domain. Beyond that, both leagues will likely operate as free advertisement for Microsoft’s holdings, like Xbox and GamePass, filling in the notable gaps that the loss of sponsors created.  

Game stability 

The current state of the Call of Duty franchise has been well-documented. Many fans remain disappointed in the sheer number of game-breaking bugs within Warzone and Vanguard, while content for both games has been lackluster. Compounding these issues, many of the bugs and glitches remained for multiple weeks. 

If Microsoft is able to get the game to be playable on both console and PC with no game-breaking bugs or glitches, it would be a large improvement over its current state. 

The competitive community finds itself patiently waiting for competitive support, with Vanguard launching without a ranked playlist. After last year’s disappointing League Play, fans were hopeful for an Elo-based ranked system, but there has been radio silence on the issue. Additionally, the CDL has no third game mode as Control remains a mess. 

With Halo Infinite’s successful launch and dedication to the competitive player base showing Microsoft’s commitment to competition, Call of Duty could see an investment in the competitive scene it has not had in years. A ranked system launching with the game, like Halo Infinite, would be a step in the right direction. 

Turnover or reconstruction  

Considering the company could throw down enough money to purchase Activision Blizzard, Microsoft is obviously good at raking in profits through its acquisitions. Unfortunately for these esports leagues, that may mean massive changes to ensure Microsoft is getting those dollars back. 

While an influx of money may solve short-term problems, Microsoft will likely have no qualms about trimming the fat, especially when it fully takes over in 2023. Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has already said the merger is focused on the metaverse and the potential of mobile devices; that focus could very well leave esports leagues at the bottom of the food chain.

Possible collaborations 

Reconstruction isn’t all bad news, however. As Microsoft acquires Activision Blizzard, it also picks up Major League Gaming (MLG), which Activision bought in 2016. This unites MLG and Esports Engine, which runs Halo Championship Series events. This throws the door wide open for large-scale FPS events that defined the early years of professional esports. 

Esports Engine co-founder Adam Apicella is already dreaming of a “massive open bracket” event that brings together classic FPS titles. Others are calling for the return of the MLG Pro Circuit. Microsoft could very well loosen the third-party tournament chokehold Activision Blizzard has held on its titles and give organizers more options to make their esports accessible. 



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Doubling down on Matthews: TSM adds Ari and Whitemon to Dota 2 roster

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TSM’s Dota 2 roster has been going through major changes after the team’s disappointing run at The International 2022. Earlier in the roster shuffle season, TSM parted ways with Dubu, moved MoonMeander to the coach position, and the organization announced Matthew “Ari” Walker and Matthew “Whitemon” Filemon would take on their mantle.

In addition to Evil Geniuses moving to South America, TSM’s latest roster move is one of the most intriguing in the North American Dota 2 region. Not only did the team bring in two talents from two different parts of the world, but the roster got dramatically younger in the process.

MoonMeander and Dubu are 30 and 29 years old, respectively, while Ari is 19 and Whitemon is 22. With MoonMeander moving to a coaching position, it looks like TSM decided to bring in young talent in the hopes of developing them in NA.

Despite his young age, Whitemon has been a part of strong rosters in SEA like Geek Fam and T1. Ari, on the other hand, was only beginning to participate in the Dota Pro Circuit, as he only previously played with Into The Breach. Ari’s resume might look a little short in Dota for now, but his past speaks volumes.

Ari is a former Heroes of the Storm professional player who made the transition to Dota 2 in 2019 after HotS scrapped its esports scene. Only two years after making the switch, Ari reached 9,000 MMR and 11,000 MMR in 2022. His ability to learn rapidly and improve in an unmatched speed were recognized by other European talents, and Ari made it to the TI11 WEU qualifiers with Into The Breach, finishing fourth.

With TSM’s roster getting even younger, it will be up to coach MoonMeander to shape the hot-blooded talent into the best versions of themselves. The current iteration of TSM features:

  • Enzo “Timado” O’Connor
  • Jonathan “Bryle” Guia
  • Jonáš “SabeRLight-” Volek
  • Matthew “Ari” Walker
  • Matthew “Whitemon” Filemon

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OpTic Hitch Reveals $100k ‘Warzone World Classic’ Tournament

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On Twitter, OpTic Hitch has revealed the Warzone World Classic tournament, a $100,000 event that will take place between the 6th and 7th of December. It’s an event that will be backed by Team Summertime, the same team that was responsible for the Black Ops II throwback tournament that took place in October 2022. Reportedly, thirty-two countries will be represented at the Warzone World Classic, which in a way is an attempt to mirror the FIFA World Cup, which is currently live.

While OpTic Hitch was the one to break the news regarding this tournament, there’s no sign that it’s at all related to OpTic as an organisation. In November, just after the game dropped, OpTic Texas held the first-ever North American Warzone 2.0 tournament, which also boasted a prize pool worth $100,000. As fans are waiting for news regarding the 2023 World Series of Warzone tournament, events like these are pivotal to maintaining the game’s esports scene.

The Warzone World Classic is a Global Event

Admittedly, not much is known about the Warzone World Classic, aside from the date, prize pool, and the number of competitors. However, information hasn’t been provided clearing up whether those countries are being represented by individuals or by squads. Regardless, some of the best Call of Duty players in the world have already shown an interest in representing their country at the event.

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Nothing is happening: Fortnite servers shut down ahead of Chapter 4

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Fortnite surprised fans last month when Epic Games announced it would be ending Chapter Three after only being around for a year. This came as a surprise, as both Chapters One and Two took at least two years to reach their conclusion. What was even more exciting is that an event would be closing out the Chapter, with maintenance following immediately after.

Now that the event has ended and the island is being reforged, the servers have gone down and players are eagerly awaiting for them to return. With servers going down around 4pm CT it will likely at least be overnight before players are able to log back into the game. During the last event, Collision, the servers were down for about 12 hours after the event ended, but this could easily change.

Now that Epic Games has taken the servers offline, the developer is likely working to get the new map and features implemented into the game. While we aren’t completely sure what to expect from this new season, many players are excited to see how the Island and the Loop will recover after the threat of the Chrome.

In the weeks leading up to the event, many theories about new features have been thrown around by some reputable leakers. Some of these features include HYPEX’s previously leaked first-person perspective, which would definitely add a whole new and exciting way to experience Fortnite. While this info is still speculation, this would likely be as big of a change as the Zero Build mode released earlier this year.

As Epic Games gets the servers ready to go, leaks will likely come out and give players more information about what’s available in Chapter Four of Fortnite.



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