Overwatch World Cup
The Overwatch World Cup finals at Blizzcon 2016. Blizzard

Later this year Activision-Blizzard's Overwatch League will finally begin. The ambitious competition for the hit hero shooter which will see city-based teams established for a global tournament.

Today (12 July), the first seven teams and their owners were announced as the ambitious league finally starts to take shape, but it isn't the only major competition for pro-level players of Blizzard's game.

The Overwatch World Cup sees players from 32 competing nations duke it out for a title which will be decided at the Blizzcon convention in November.

The group stage kicks off this weekend (14-16 July), but what does the impending Overwatch League mean for its future?

IBTimes UK put the question to league commissioner Nate Nanzer.

"The World Cup we think is an important event in much the same way that the football World Cup is an event that unites the world around football, and is an event that even the most casual fans get engaged with.

"The Overwatch World Cup similarly is an event that we think is important to go hand-in-hand along with our city-based League competition. We conducted the Overwatch World Cup last year, we're conducting it again this year."

So the World Cup isn't going anywhere, but Nanzer wasn't going to go into details about any possible changes.

"We don't have anything to announce on the future of the Overwatch World Cup, but it's definitely an event that we hope to continue in some capacity going forward."

We pressed Nazer on whether the comparison he drew with the Fifa World Cup might mean the Overwatch equivalent would no longer be an annual event.

"No comment on that, but I think you can look at the football World Cup as an example of a model that we could potentially explore."

For the sake of clarity and simplicity it would certainly make sense for Blizzard to avoid running both the League and World Cup concurrently. Right now they're separate entities, but that's almost certainly set to change.

Overwatch has been enormously successful since its release in May 2017 for PS4, Xbox One and PC. With more than 30 million players and the continued support of Blizzard's developers, it's set to be a prominent esport for years to come.