The Overwatch League has been going a fair few months now, with a lot of talking points coming out of the competition, ranging from London Spitfire's exciting win in Stage 1 of the competition to controversies surrounding player conduct, and now commissioner Nate Nanzer has spoke in an interview with Dot Esports about the hopes for the future, and the specific goals Blizzard is aiming for.
"We're definitely taking a very long-term view," he explained. "In the near term, we're focused on continuing to make great content. I've been really pleased to see the narrative and a lot of the press around the Overwatch League after launch has been that everything's very high quality, which is great. But we want to continue to... we can always do better. I mentioned this today, but we need to do more storytelling. There's a lot of additional things we can do."
"Growing viewership is really key. We're... I wouldn't say we have a target in mind, but we want to show growth. We want to show that we're growing the audience and bringing in new fans, and make sure the content is accessible to new fans. That's a key metric. Finally, making sure we're driving a lot of value for stakeholders. I think we've had a lot of really commercial success and we want to continue to focus on bringing in great partners like we have with HP, Intel, Toyota, and T-Mobile. It's been really exciting to work with those brands and make what we think is really cool branded content that is way better than just putting a logo on a broadcast. Like, Access Granted with Toyota we just launched, and content like that we think is really cool. The fan reaction to it has been really positive, too, so overall it feels like we're off to a good start. But there's still a million things that we want to do."
Nanzer also addressed player controversies, especially when it comes to situations like xQc, who has recently been dropped by his team Dallas Fuel after a series of situations which saw him banned from playing in the competition, including controversial use of Twitch emotes and comments made on stream.
"The league will continue to invest in things like media training for players," he said. "We have a process in place where... so, let's say something happens. We decide we're going to action it. It's not just me in my office being like, "Ahaha! We're going to fine a guy." We have a whole team to discuss it. Lawyers are heavily involved. We draft a letter saying, here's what you did and here's the penalty. We send it to the player and we copy in the owner and the coaches. In the letter it says, this is what the outcome is, however, if you would like to present evidence or would like to discuss any of this, here's the window. Let us know if you want to have a conversation. If you do, we'll schedule a time to discuss it. We never make it public until we've finalized the punishment until that window lapses. There actually have been cases of players saying, yes, I would like to talk about it. In one case we actually got rid of the penalty altogether after discussing the penalty with the player. The notion that there's no appeals process or whatever you want to call it is not true. There absolutely is. It's up to the player if they want to take it on or not."
Do you think that the long-term goals are achievable for Blizzard?