By Isaac Chandler
January 17, 2020
It’s been a rough couple of weeks for the Overwatch League behind the scenes. Talent leaving left and right sparked major concern amongst the community. Some claim it was due to a difference in opinion on the league’s future. Others blame the crazy travel schedule for this upcoming season as the homestand format begins to get underway.
It appears it may be a bit of both and more as a new report from Richard Lewis at Dexerto revealed.
According to the report, it began with the departure of former Overwatch League commissioner Nate Nanzer for Epic Games last year.
Most famously, he convinced Activision’s corporate management to avoid pay cuts of Overwatch league talent salaries of up to 30% after the major success of Season 1, instead negotiating 5% raises for many.
With Nanzer gone, Activision again worked to reduce talent pay, a pay cut between 5-30%. Which was justified internally by the claim there would be fewer days to utilize talent due to the travel time and shortening of the season to seven months.
It wasn’t the Overwatch League pay cuts alone causing all the frustration amongst talent. Many described to Lewis frustrations with management’s inability or unwillingness to listen and utilize advice the talent gave them, believing the hosts and casters should shut up and put on the show.
The creative differences lead to feelings of resentment and dissatisfaction amongst many members of the crew. It was amplified more by headbutting with a third party in the production team for the league.
Feeling the differences were irreconcilable, many members including DoA, MonteCristo, Semmler, and Malik, amongst others. Lewis indicated others might soon follow in their footsteps.
This is the antithesis of what Pete Vlastelica, president and CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues and Major League Gaming, claimed in an interview with The Esports Observer. He stated the league decided to let talent go, a claim denied by MonteCristo.
With the league starting soon and worries over player burnout, it brings worry to OWL’s third season of play. We’re likely to hear more from Activision on their plans over the coming days. Stay tuned for more updates.