Overwatch World Cup

Last updated
Overwatch World Cup
Current season, competition or edition:
Controller current.svg 2019 Overwatch World Cup
Overwatch World Cup logo.svg
Game Overwatch
Inaugural season 2016
No. of teams
  • 16 (2016)
  • 32 (2017)
  • 24 (2018)
  • 10 (2019)
Most recent
Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea
Most titlesFlag of South Korea.svg  South Korea (3 titles)
TV partner(s)

The Overwatch World Cup (OWWC) is an annual international Overwatch esports tournament organized by Blizzard Entertainment, the game's developer. The current format involves a preliminary stage in which any national is allowed to compete in. The top five countries from the preliminary stage move on to the group stages, along with five automatically qualified teams. Three teams from each group advance to a single-elimination playoff bracket at Blizzard's BlizzCon event every November. Every World Cup so far has been have been won by South Korea, with three in total.

<i>Overwatch</i> (video game) 2016 multiplayer first-person shooter video game

Overwatch is a team-based multiplayer first-person shooter developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment. Described as a "hero shooter," Overwatch assigns players into two teams of six, with each player selecting from a roster of over 30 characters, known as "heroes," each with a unique style of play that is divided into three general roles that fit their purpose. Players on a team work together to secure and defend control points on a map or escort a payload across the map in a limited amount of time. Players gain cosmetic rewards that do not affect gameplay, such as character skins and victory poses, as they play the game. The game was initially launched with casual play, with a competitive ranked mode, various 'arcade' game modes, and a player-customizable server browser subsequently included following its release. Additionally, Blizzard has added new characters, maps, and game modes post-release, all free of charge, with the only additional cost to players being optional loot boxes to earn cosmetic items. It was released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows in May 2016, with an upcoming Nintendo Switch version in October 2019.

Esports form of competition that is facilitated by electronic systems, particularly video games

Esports is a form of competition using video games. Esports often takes the form of organized, multiplayer video game competitions, particularly between professional players, individually or as teams. Although organized online and offline competitions have long been a part of video game culture, these were largely between amateurs until the late 2000s, when participation by professional gamers and spectatorship in these events through live streaming saw a large surge in popularity. By the 2010s, esports was a significant factor in the video game industry, with many game developers actively designing toward a professional esports subculture.

Blizzard Entertainment American video game publisher and developer

Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. is an American video game developer and publisher based in Irvine, California, and is a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard. The company was founded on February 8, 1991, under the name Silicon & Synapse, Inc. by three graduates of the University of California, Los Angeles: Michael Morhaime, Frank Pearce and Allen Adham. The company originally concentrated on the creation of game ports for other studios' games before beginning development of their own software in 1993 with games like Rock n' Roll Racing and The Lost Vikings. In 1994, the company became Chaos Studios, Inc., then Blizzard Entertainment after being acquired by distributor Davidson & Associates.



According to lead game director Jeff Kaplan, Overwatch was not developed with any dedication towards esports. Dan Szymborski of ESPN stated that Overwatch was poised as the next big esport for having a sufficiently different look and playstyle from established esports titles like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Call of Duty , enough variety in maps and characters, and strong support from Blizzard to maintain the game for a long time. [2] Bryant Francis writing for Gamasutra noted the speed and short match times of Overwatch make the game highly favorable for viewership, further supporting the title as an eSports title. [3] Overwatch's progression into eSports was described by Rolling Stone as a "strategy [that] involved carefully rolling out the game in steps – first a closed beta, then open beta, then full release, then a competitive mode and finally a league." [4]

Jeff Kaplan American video game designer

Jeffrey Kaplan is an American video game designer who is vice president of Blizzard Entertainment. He designed elements of World of Warcraft and is the lead designer on Overwatch.

ESPN is an American basic cable sports channel owned by ESPN Inc., owned jointly by The Walt Disney Company (80%) and Hearst Communications (20%). The company was founded in 1979 by Bill Rasmussen along with his son Scott Rasmussen and Ed Egan.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is a multiplayer first-person shooter video game developed by Hidden Path Entertainment and Valve Corporation. It is the fourth game in the Counter-Strike series and was released for Microsoft Windows, OS X, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 on August 21, 2012, while the Linux version was released in 2014.

In June 2016, the esports organizer ESL announced that they would host the first international Overwatch competition in August 2016, called Overwatch Atlantic Showdown. [5] The competition used four open qualifiers beginning in June, followed by regional qualifiers and then a final online qualifier. Eight teams then competed for a six-figure prize in the finals to be held at Gamescom 2016 from August 20–21. [6] Turner Broadcasting's ELeague announced the first Overwatch Open tournament, starting in July 2016, with a total prize pool of $300,000, with plans to broadcast the finals on Turner's cable channel TBS in September 2016. [7] In August 2016, Blizzard announced their own Overwatch international tournament, allowing users to vote for teams to represent their nation or region. [8] [9] Over 3 million votes to decide national teams were cast. [10] The inaugural Overwatch World Cup was watched by 100,000 people at BlizzCon 2016. [11] The South Korean team won the tournament, defeating the Russian team 4–0 in the final round. [12]

ESL, formerly known as Electronic Sports League, is an esports organizer and production company that produces video game competitions worldwide. ESL is the world's largest esports company, and the oldest that is still operational. Based in Cologne, Germany, ESL has eleven offices and multiple international TV studios globally. ESL is the largest esports company to broadcast on Twitch.tv.

Gamescom trade fair for video games

Gamescom is a trade fair for video games held annually at the Koelnmesse in Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Since 2018, it has been organised by game – Verband der deutschen Games-Branche ; and before that, by the Bundesverband Interaktive Unterhaltungssoftware (BIU). It supersedes Games Convention, held in Leipzig, Saxony, Germany. Gamescom is used by many video game developers to exhibit upcoming games and game-related hardware.

BlizzCon video game convention held by Blizzard Entertainment

BlizzCon is an annual gaming convention held by Blizzard Entertainment to promote its major franchises including Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm and Overwatch. The first BlizzCon was held in October 2005 and since then all of conventions have been held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, in the same metropolitan area as Blizzard's headquarters in Irvine. The convention features game-related announcements, previews of upcoming Blizzard Entertainment games and content, Q&A sessions and panels, costume contests and playable versions of various Blizzard games. The closing night has featured concerts by The Offspring, Tenacious D, Foo Fighters, Ozzy Osbourne, Blink-182, Metallica, Linkin Park, "Weird Al" Yankovic, and Muse. A similar event was the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational, held outside the U.S. from 2004–2008.

In March 2017, Blizzard announced Overwatch World Cup 2017. [10] The selection of national teams for the 2017 World Cup was different from 2016 in that participating nations were required to vote for an Overwatch World Cup National Committee. [10] The National Committees were based upon nominations chosen by Blizzard; according to Blizzard, "analysts, coaches, statisticians, and other authorities" recommended rosters for all stages of the competition. [10] [13] Blizzard announced the 2017 World Cup participants in April. [14] The 2017 World Cup experienced an issue with several players on the Chinese team being denied visas to enter the United States for the final round, causing four players on the team to be replaced by substitutes. [15] [16]


Prior tournaments

The 2016 format had four qualifying tournaments to thin the field for the final tournament, [17] while the 2017 and 2018 formats used an average skill rating of each country's top players to determine which countries qualified for the tournament. [13] [18] Qualified teams were divided into round-robin style groups 4 groups in 2016, 8 in 2017, and 4 in 2018. [19] [20] In every year, teams that made it past the group stages moved on a single-elimination playoff bracket.

A round-robin tournament is a competition in which each contestant meets all other contestants in turn. A round-robin contrasts with an elimination tournament, in which participants are eliminated after a certain number of losses.

Current format

The 2019 World Cup will take place across three stages: preliminary rounds, group stages, and playoffs. A country's national ranking will be determined by a point-ranking system based on final placements in the previous World Cups. Any country wishing to participate is eligible to play in the preliminary rounds, a single-elimination, seeded bracket. The top five countries based on their national ranking will not have to play in the preliminary rounds and will have any automatic bye to the group stages. The seeding will be based on the national rankings, and the top five countries from the Preliminary Rounds will move on to the group stages. [21]

Single-elimination tournament knock-out sports competition

A single-elimination, knockout, or sudden death tournament is a type of elimination tournament where the loser of each match-up is immediately eliminated from the tournament. Each winner will play another in the next round, until the final match-up, whose winner becomes the tournament champion. Each match-up may be a single match or several, for example two-legged ties in European football or best-of series in American pro sports. Defeated competitors may play no further part after losing, or may participate in "consolation" or "classification" matches against other losers to determine the lower final rankings; for example, a third place playoff between losing semi-finalists. In a shootout poker tournament, there are more than two players competing at each table, and sometimes more than one progressing to the next round. Some competitions are held with a pure single-elimination tournament system. Others have many phases, with the last being a single-elimination final stage, often called playoffs.

A bye in sports refers to organizers scheduling a competitor to not participate in a given round of competition, due to one of several circumstances.

The Group Stages will take place on November 1, 2019. The ten countries competing in the group stages will be split evenly into two round-robin style groups. The top country from each group will move on to the semifinals, while the second- and third-placed countries in each group will move on to the quarterfinals. [21] The knockout stage will take place the following day on November 2. The six teams that move on from the group stages will participate in a single-elimination playoff. The winner of the finals will be awarded a gold medal, while the loser will be awarded silver. The two teams that lost in their respective semifinals match will play each other for the bronze medal. [21]


The World Cup is broadcast through live stream channels via the Twitch platform. [22] Official live stream broadcast channels are provided in English, Chinese, Korean, French, Russian, German, Japanese, and Thai. [22] Other languages are broadcast through community–run channels on the official Overwatch World Cup team page. [22] Prior to the third edition of the event, Disney and Blizzard Entertainment announced a multiyear deal for coverage of Overwatch esports. [1]


#YearChampionsScoreRunners-upThird PlaceScoreFourth PlaceNo.
1 2016 Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea 4–0Flag of Russia.svg  Russia Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 2–1Flag of Finland.svg  Finland 16
2 2017 Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea 4–1Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 4–2Flag of France.svg  France 32
3 2018 Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea 4–0Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada 3–2
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom

All-time table for Blizzcon appearances

No.TeamApp'sOverall recordsBest finish
1Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea 3+39902743+23Champion(2016, 2017, 2018)
2Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China 3+3523790-2Runner-up (2018)
3Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada 2+264213110+2Runner-up (2017)
4Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 1-2321450-1Runner-up (2016)
5Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 2-15231381+5Third place (2016, 2017)
6Flag of France.svg  France 3+35147130-6Fourth place (2017)
7Flag of Finland.svg  Finland 2+1413381-5Fourth place (2016)
8Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 2+1413392-6Fourth place (2018)
9Flag of the United States.svg  United States 3+3303391-6Quarterfinal (2016, 2017, 2018)
10Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 2+2202260-4Quarterfinal (2017, 2018)
11Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 1-2101120-1Quarterfinal (2016)

Source: OWWC


An MVP award for the Final Round of the OWC has been awarded since the inaugural tournament in 2016.

Overwatch World Cup MVPs
World CupCountryRef.
2016 Flag of South Korea.svg Gong "Miro" Jin-hyuk [23]
2017 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Félix "xQc" Lengyel [24]
2018 Flag of South Korea.svg Bang "JJoNak" Sung-hyeon [25]

See also

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