The Overwatch League Cancels Upcoming South Korea Hosting Due To Coronavirus

The Overwatch League Cancels Upcoming South Korea Hosting Due To Coronavirus
Credit: Blizzard via YouTube

Yet another outbreak of the Coronavirus has been found in South Korea, meaning it’s near a high score if you’re familiar with Plague Inc.  Madagascar still looms large, as it tends to.  Laughing at others’ expense aside, yet another wrench has been thrown into esports due to the Coronavirus wrapping its nasty tendrils around humanity, and South Korea is the most recent to have an episode that has been pinpointed to a US Military dependent.

This sheds light on the Overwatch League’s recently announced decision to also cancel plans to host the League in South Korea for weeks 5, 6, and 7.  The latest in a long line of the virus interrupting esports, games, and (of course) lives around the world.

This is on the back of all Chinese homestands being canceled due to the virus, the Shanghai Dragons not having a match until week 10 of the league, and the current scores for the tumultuous third season being awry and frankly lopsided.  Currently, all Chinese teams would be hard-pressed to make it to the mid-season tournament simply due to being unable to play.

It seems like the Seoul Dynasty will be the latest to struggle, despite the offerings and strength of their roster.

The Coronavirus couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Overwatch League which begins its international tour this year in a move that was hoped by many to be the new look of the League moving forward.  While shaky schedules and a lack of practice affected the professional players, the headache that YouTube Gaming Live has become a venue to watch the matches has been a pain for the viewers.

If Blizzard needed a clutch year for the Overwatch League, this is it, and it’s simply not going to plan.

The most recent weekend ended the streams matches with viewership hovering around 46,000 viewers, which is clearly a far cry from the 100,000+ streams on Twitch that the League enjoyed during its first and second years.

Whether those numbers stem from the platform shift, the repetitive adverts blaring louder than the stream, the overwhelming abundance of technical issues that have plagued the League endlessly, or users are simply tired of the format, it’s difficult to discern.  What is an absolute, however, is that this is yet another blow to a year that they needed to go smoothly, and it could bode poorly for the future of the League.

Safety is paramount, however, and if the choice is between having matches continue as scheduled, or avoiding a ground zero for the newest plague, the choice is abundantly clear.  Even for Blizzard.