Surefour Announces Temporary Retirement From Professional Overwatch
Lane “Surefour” Roberts has announced his temporary retirement from the Overwatch League for its fourth season. Surefour was recently released from his contract with the Toronto Defiant as part of a massive offseason roster shuffle, and it seems that this has motivated the player to hang up his mouse for now.
It’s unclear if Susrefour will return to professional gaming, but he has been participating in Dungeons and Dragons streams, playing with Sodapoppin and others.
Surefour Hangs up the Mouse for Now
Surefour has been a very popular North American Overwatch player since the Overwatch League’s inception. Indeed, he was one of the few North American players playing since Season 1 to stick around. Now that’s changing, thanks to his contract status, among other things.
“I’ll most likely be taking a break from OWL next season,” Surefour said on Twitter. “I’ve dealt with alot the past 3 years and wasn’t in a great state of mind because of it. But, meeting a bunch of new people and hanging out with them has corrected it a bunch. So it’s probably for the best to take a break.”
The things that Surefour dealt with that he’s referring to could be any number of issues. Since Season 1, Overwatch League players have constantly complained of burnout, scheduling issues, and other not pleasant things about being a pro gamer. Combine that with the fact that Season 3 was a complete upheaval from what the pros were already used to dealing with in the first two seasons of Overwatch League, and it’s easy to see why someone might get rather burnt out on it all.
As with anything that people are passionate about, it’s entirely possible and likely that eventually there will be too much. It’s always possible that Surefour (and other retired players) could return or switch to other games, but when burnout strikes, time away is always the best answer.
Surefour’s Legacy and Career
Should Surefour not return to the Overwatch League following his temporary retirement, he leaves behind a career that wasn’t marked with a ton of success despite his star status on both the LA Gladiators and the Toronto Defiant.
Let’s take a look at how his results panned out across his career:
- 9-11th 2020 NA Playoffs
- 15th in OWL 2020 regular season
- 3rd-4th at OWL 2020 Summer Showdown
- 5-6th at OWL 2019 playoffs
- 5th in OWL regular season 2019
- 5-8th in OWL Stage 2 2019 playoffs
- 3rd Overwatch World Cup 2018
- 9-10th Overwatch World Cup 2019
- 4th OWL Regular season 2018
- 5-6th OWL 2018 Playoffs
- 2nd Overwatch World Cup 2018
All in all, not great. The only gold medal of his career was that he won the 1v1 Widowmaker event at All-Stars once. While he was a solid player for the Gladiators, Defiant, and Canandian Overwatch World Cup team, the lack of wins in his career surely could have contributed to his decision to hang it up.
Is This a Bad Sign for the Overwatch League?
The Overwatch League has been an interesting beast to watch this offseason. Several teams have made massive roster changes, keeping very few of their franchise players around and allowing most of them to explore free agency. For a league that’s supposed to mirror professional sports, this isn’t a great look.
The Overwatch League isn’t set to kick off again until (reports suggest) April, with plans for the League’s fourth season still not set in stone so far as travel and hosting live events once again still up in the air. This could be causing several teams to look at the long term costs of keeping players on their roster during this period and having a massive drain on their war chests in the meantime.
While viewership for the Overwatch League did appear to shatter records, including Chinese viewership, its western viewership has fallen far short of expectations with the switch to YouTube Gaming. While it’s possible that the value proposition of having a streaming deal was paramount to the League and made up for the viewership loss, that did result in a wave of negative PR for the League that it could be difficult to recover from.
With several players seeing this and seeing opportunities in other games like Riot’s Valorant or simply retiring to stream or take on another role in esports, or leave the industry entirely, all of this probably contributed to the decision of Surefour and other Overwatch players that announced their retirement.