Overwatch is huge on Twitch right now, but are tournaments and competitive modes fun to watch?

Is Overwatch actually fun to watch?

Overwatch is huge on Twitch right now, but are tournaments and competitive modes fun to watch?

It’s only been a few days since Blizzard launched their new class-based shooter, and the world has already been set ablaze by Overwatch.

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While some are singing praises for the game’s “perfect marriage of casual and hardcore FPS gameplay,” the more scrutinous are criticizing its surprisingly underwhelming “tick-rate.” However, one critic in particular is looking past the general hype and is rather focusing on the game as a potential esport.

In a discussion hosted on the ScreenWatchers Gamescast, David Kerner argues that Overwatch, while being a great game, lacks a certain focus commonly found in highly spectated esports. Making comparisons to games like Dota 2, Hearthstone, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Kerner outlines the common characteristics in these games which allow for an enjoyable experience on streaming platforms like Twitch.

A single thread ties together the top four most popular games on Twitch: legibility. A casual player, or even a non-player, of each game can generally understand what is going on at any given point…Overwatch lacks [this component], and I fail to see what spectate mode Blizzard can craft which can display all the relevant information in a cohesive manner. I have no doubt a pro scene will develop, but the inability to show viewers events that are happening across wide open maps between constantly respawning heroes seems insurmountable.

Apparently, these obstacles have not slowed down the rapid rise of Overwatch’s competitive scene. Yesterday, Esports Arena announced a new Overwatch tournament called Agents Rising, where all the top competitive teams in the world (including Cloud9) will be facing off for a $10,000 prize pool. The tournament is running all weekend long, and you can check out the live stream here.

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Joe DeClara
Games critic and journalist based in Queens, NY. Fan of platformers, Star Wars, and Tchaikovsky.