Is it good that eSports face challenges that traditional would never even consider?
Activation Blizzard makes some of the best and best selling games in the world. The company is making big bets on eSports driving that growth. To make that a reality they converted Johnny Carson's old Tonight Show studio into one of the most advanced eSports broadcast centers in the world. Four nights a week you can tune in on Twitch with hundreds of thousands of others and watch the twelve teams of The Overwatch League play.
There was a large controversy in the league this past week and it all came down to a bug programmers couldn’t fix fast enough. When traditional sports make a rule change it’s subject to a lot of professional and public debate. The arguments over instant replay in baseball still go on. Now imagine your sport has four parts to the season a year with a few weeks inbetween each. Now imagine if your sport changed the rules in a substantial way each time and then let the public play during those weeks to see if they liked the rules.
It would be like baseball testing out moving foul poles with rec softball and little league then turning it on for the majors after 2 weeks.
That’s the challenge eSports players face on a regular basis. This week however it was worse, much worse. Just two days before the season start and they don’t know what rules are in and out because of a software bug. The professional version of the game is its own branch of code with special features for broadcasting and referees. Well that special branch has a bug and they can’t fix it before the season start. So they are going with the previous stable version that the public did not like one bit. It leads to unbalanced gameplay and a big shakeup in the way teams play. The show must go on, and in fact, it makes for some great TV, but is it good for the league and players? Only time will tell.