Blizzard announced Overwatch Contenders, a developmental league for aspiring Overwatch League professional players that is set to launch this summer.
Registration is now open for Overwatch Contenders, and players who think that they have what it takes to become the next eSports star should definitely consider signing up.
Blizzard Unveils 'Overwatch' Contenders
As Blizzard works on the preparations for the Overwatch League, the developer launched Overwatch Contenders to draw in the future stars of Overwatch eSports. The tournament offers cash prizes, and perhaps more importantly, the chance for amateur players to show off their skills with the hope of being noticed by professional teams who may be looking for more members.
The first season of Overwatch Contenders, named Season Zero, offers a prize pool of $50,000 per region, and will start with an open sign-up, online-only qualifier for the North American and European servers. The open qualifiers for North America will be held on June 3 and June 4, while for Europe, it would be on June 10 and June 11.
The top 16 teams from the qualifiers will move on to the Group Stage, where the top eight teams in each region will be determined. The Group Stage will be held on June 17 and June 24 for North America and June 18 and June 25 for Europe.
Finally, the top eight teams from each region will participate in the Playoffs to determine the inaugural Overwatch Contenders champions. The matches will be held on July 1 for North America and on July 2 for Europe.
The top teams from Overwatch Contenders will then be invited to Season One, an offline six-week round-robin tournament that offers a prize pool of $100,000 per region. The top six teams in North America will be joined by Rogue and Envy, two teams which participated in the Overwatch APEX tournament in South Korea.
'Overwatch' Contenders vs. 'Overwatch' League
Compared to Overwatch Contenders, the planned Overwatch League is much bigger, though details regarding it have remained clouded. What is known is that it will be a city-based eSports league with permanent teams, though there has been controversy on the franchise fee that Blizzard is said to be seeking for each team.
In 2018, however, Overwatch Contenders will offer another chance for teams to participate in the development league through the Overwatch Open Division. The upcoming tournament series will be held in certain locations worldwide to allow Masters rank teams to try to claim their spot in future runs of Overwatch Contenders.
'Overwatch' Anniversary Event Incoming
The news regarding Overwatch Contenders comes just as Blizzard prepares to celebrate the first year of Overwatch.
The Overwatch Anniversary Event will launch on May 23, and rumors claim that it will introduce three new Arena maps, more cosmetic upgrades such as dance emotes, and possibly even Doomfist as the game's 25th hero.
The first year celebration of Overwatch will also see the launch of a Game of the Year Edition for the massively popular multiplayer shooter, which players worldwide can try through an upcoming free weekend from May 26 to May 29.