Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has announced the formation of an Overwatch pro league while discussing the growing popularity of eSports during a panel at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit this past weekend (21 - 23 October).
"What we're doing is creating professional content. So we're organising around teams and leagues," Kotick said, according to a report from The Street. "You will have the Overwatch League which will have a certain number of teams. Those teams will be a combination of professional sports teams as owners and endemic sports teams as owners."
Developers Blizzard has yet to announce anything official regarding a pro Overwatch league, but it's certainly in the game's future given its enormous popularity.
It'll take time to set up, however, and the further refinement and balance of the game, which is currently in the midst of its second eight-week "season" of competitive play.
Kotick also mentioned that arena events are a possibility, and noted eSports are now watched by some 100 million people, a figure that's outpacing mainstream US sports, the NFL and NBA.
Last year, Activision formed an eSports division to handle the continued growth of its games including Call of Duty, Hearthstone and StarCraft 2 – competitively.
Overwatch is already a figure in the world of pro gaming, with numerous tournaments taking place around world. It has yet to take the next big step that would allow it compete with the other major eSports titles, but that is only a matter of time.
The hero-based shooter launched in May and – as of 12 October – has been played by more than 20 million registered players. The game has achieved its success thanks to excellent game design and an overarching lore that primarily exists beyond the game itself, and has turned the fandom around the game into one of the most dedicated and passionate in the industry.