The Future of Overwatch Esports
The New Overwatch Esports Ecosystem
Overwatch is a competitive game at its core. It's fast, dynamic, and at its best when two closely matched teams are battling it out for victory.
Our goal as a development team is to ensure that all of our players have the opportunity to experience the thrill of competition - From the highs and lows of organized group play to the excitement of watching the world's best players competing at live events. Esports competitions are vital to any thriving competitive game, and Overwatch 2 is no different. Today, we’re excited to talk about what is next for Overwatch Esports.
Our philosophy moving into our next chapter of Overwatch Esports is simple: offer and cultivate an esports ecosystem that is more open - with anyone able to participate - always-on, regionally focused, providing experiences for participants and fans alike. Overwatch 2 is a game for everyone, and we want to ensure that anyone who has the skills is able to showcase them.
With that said, we are excited to introduce our new Overwatch Esports programs.
Introducing the Overwatch Champions Series
Our esports efforts in 2024 will be multifaceted and the first program that we’re excited to introduce to you all is the Overwatch Champions Series (OWCS). The OWCS is our new premiere international competitive circuit open to players across North America (NA), Europe, Middle East, and North Africa (EMEA), and Asia.
The 2024 season will feature multiple competitive stages where each region will have its own set of Open Qualifiers, giving players the ability to form their own teams and battle it out for their place in the Main Event. The stages will culminate in two live, in-person international events, bringing the regions together for the pinnacle of Overwatch play on the largest stage ever for Overwatch Esports..
Let's dive into how each region will function across the OWCS.
NA & EMEA: A Deeper Look
In NA and EMEA, teams will participate in four competitive stages throughout the year alongside our two international OWCS events. Each stage will feature an online Open Qualifier and Main Event where players can earn circuit points, which are used to determine international event qualification.
Players can earn circuit points through top finishes in each of these stages–the more points a team earns, the higher their standing on the leaderboards and seeds going into each event.
OWCS Stages in NA and EMEA will feature three unique tournament phases - Swiss, Groups, and the Main Event. The Open Qualifier will contain the Swiss phase alongside Groups, which qualifies teams to the Main Event. The Swiss phase will host (a maximum of) 512 teams, to qualify 16 teams into Groups. These 16 teams will compete in groups of 4, with the top 2 teams from each group advancing to the Main Event at our 8-team double elimination regional tournament, all run through our new partners at FACEIT.
Stay tuned for further details on the NA and EMEA region schedules at a later date.
FACEIT: An Open and Sustainable Overwatch Esports Infrastructure
We are excited to announce this partnership with FACEIT, whose involvement in both NA and EMEA OWCS will boost our ability to bring great experiences to the esports community. Their platform provides an open infrastructure that enables all players to find a network to connect with competitions, teams, brackets, and standings – simplifying the entire experience.
A streamlined Overwatch 2 FACEIT experience will be the official way to play in the Overwatch Champions Series in NA and EMEA, starting March 1, 2024.
Asia: A Deeper Look
A key benefit of having a new international program with distinct regions is the ability to better provide players with experiences that best serve their unique regional needs . As such, the Asia region will look a little different than NA and EMEA. Asia will host three regional subdivisions: South Korea, Japan, and Pacific. Each subdivision will host multiple tournaments, with formats tailored to each local audience, all with the direct purpose of qualifying teams up to the OWCS.
In Asia, teams will participate in two competitive stages throughout the year, with each stage culminating in a respective international OWCS event. Each competitive stage will be operated by WDG with each subdivision featuring their own respective Open Qualifiers leading into Regional Tournaments. These Regional Tournaments will then determine the best teams from each of our subdivisions to advance to the two OWCS Asia Championship tournaments throughout the year. At each OWCS Asia Championship event, fans can watch their favorite teams from across all of Asia in person as they compete at the WDG Esports Studio in South Korea for their spot at our global events.
WARA.GG will serve as the exclusive registration platform for each subregion’s Open Qualifiers and the primary source for all match-related information, offering match updates, schedules, and other information. WARA.GG will also provide a dedicated platform to engage with all of the excitement, competition, and opportunities that Overwatch Esports and the OWCS will offer for the region.
Stay tuned for further details on the Asia region schedule at a later date.
International Live Events at DreamHack
We are thrilled to be partnering with DreamHack, with their festivals having served as epicenters for competitive gaming for many years. We are incredibly excited to bring some of our biggest Overwatch Esports moments to their stage as OWCS will host two live international tournaments at DreamHack in the 2024 season: one in summer during the middle of our season, and another in the fall as our Season Finals.
The first international event, the OWCS Major, will be at DreamHack Dallas on May 31 – June 2. Our Season Finals this year will also do something that the community has long wanted to see – bring premier, live Overwatch Esports events to Europe. The top teams from each of our major regions will descend on DreamHack Stockholm later this year, as we look to crown the first-ever OWCS champions.
Other Overwatch Esports Programs
In North America and EMEA, in addition to OWCS, players and fans can look forward to many other ways to engage in Overwatch Esports with new initiatives through FACEIT. We are excited to provide players a variety of fresh and exciting opportunities to compete starting this spring, and we look forward to sharing details on more ways to play throughout the year. Stay tuned for future announcements with our full slate of programming in North America and EMEA.
In the Asia Region, in addition to OWCS, there will be further programming supported by WDG Esports:
WDG Cup offers a unique knockout competition that is open to all teams in the Asia region and will run during the Asia OWCS offseason. The open nature of the WDG Cup encourages every team to participate and achieve standout performances.
WDG Scholastic Tournament presents a regular competitive opportunity for the collegiate, high school, and middle-school students who wish to play Overwatch 2 representing their school and scholastic community. The tournament will take place four times annually, ensuring students have regular opportunities to compete and enhance their skills.
Mark Your Calendars
The first OWCS Open Qualifiers will kick off in NA and EMEA shortly after the 2023-2024 Season of Calling All Heroes concludes this February, with competition starting in March. Open Qualifiers for the Asia region will kick off in February.
Keep an eye out for more details and specific dates for the kickoff of OWCS and FACEIT programming at a later date.
Overwatch Esports FAQ
Overwatch Champions Series
Details on how to tune-in to Overwatch Esports will be shared at a later date.
When constructing your team to participate in OWCS; your roster will be (a) limited to eight players, with a (b) minimum age of seventeen years old, and a (c) maximum of two non-resident players per team in an OWCS region.
OWCS will feature various eligibility constraints for players and teams across each region.
OWCS competition will be divided across three major regions: North America, Europe Middle-East North Africa (EMEA), and Asia. With Asia divided into three sub-regions.
Jurisdictions eligible for competition in North America are:
Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, United States, and Venezuela
Jurisdictions eligible for competition in EMEA are:
Algeria, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Macedonia, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom
The Asia region will be subdivided into three regional subdivisions. Jurisdictions eligible for competition in Asia are:
Pacific - Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand
Players from an eligible jurisdiction will be able to compete outside their OWCS home region, as a non-resident.
A team competing in OWCS may only have 2 non-resident players per roster.
For Example; a player from South Korea, will be eligible to compete in North America as a non-resident.
Why are certain regions not included here?
OWCS competition is only offered in regions with current ongoing support for the Overwatch 2 Live Service.
There will be two International Live Events for fans to attend in 2024. Stay tuned for more information regarding ticketing.
In North America and EMEA, players can expect to play in the first OWCS Regional Open Qualifiers starting in March 2024.
In Asia, players can expect to play in the first OWCS Sub-Regional Open Qualifiers starting in February 2024.
There will be opportunities for fans to receive in-game rewards for watching Overwatch Esports in 2024.
FACEIT is the world's leading competitive gaming platform for online multiplayer PvP games.
FACEIT will bring a fresh new direction to competitive Overwatch with new unique products and content that will support the ecosystem in becoming more open, sustainable, rewarding and aspirational.
And for all the aspiring players and teams out there, FACEIT will be the connection to the esports circuit that provides every player in the community a clearly defined and streamlined experience.
In North America and EMEA, FACEIT will be the premiere platform for all things Overwatch Esports in 2024.
Users of all ranks will be able to compete in tournaments on FACEIT. In the coming weeks, FACEIT will announce more about their programs, activities and competitions.
Players in regions with an existing Live Service for Overwatch 2 across North America, Latin America, Europe, Middle-East, North-Africa, and Australia-New Zealand are eligible to participate in FACEIT play.
All players of 13 age and older are eligible to use FACEIT.
Open qualifiers will begin in FACEIT on March 1 2024. In the coming weeks, FACEIT will announce more about their programs, activities and competitions.
More details on how to seamlessly play Overwatch 2 through FACEIT will be shared at a later date.
No – playing Overwatch 2 on FACEIT or Battle.Net will be a seamless experience regardless of platform.