Overwatch World Cup
|No. of teams|
|Most titles||South Korea (3 titles)|
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. The first three World Cups were won by South Korea, while the most recent one was won by the United States.
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. 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. 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."
In June 2016, the esports organizer ESL announced that they would host the first international Overwatch competition in August 2016, called Overwatch Atlantic Showdown. 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. 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. In August 2016, Blizzard announced their own Overwatch international tournament, allowing users to vote for teams to represent their nation or region. Over 3 million votes to decide national teams were cast. The inaugural Overwatch World Cup was watched by 100,000 people at BlizzCon 2016. The South Korean team won the tournament, defeating the Russian team 4–0 in the final round.
In March 2017, Blizzard announced Overwatch World Cup 2017. 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. 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. Blizzard announced the 2017 World Cup participants in April. 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.
The 2016 format had four qualifying tournaments to thin the field for the final tournament, 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. Qualified teams were divided into round-robin style groups – 4 groups in 2016, 8 in 2017, and 4 in 2018. In every year, teams that made it past the group stages moved on a single-elimination playoff bracket.
The 2019 World Cup takes place across three stages: preliminary rounds, group stages, and playoffs. A country's national ranking was 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 did 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.
The Group Stages took 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. 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.
The World Cup is broadcast through live stream channels via the Twitch platform. Official live stream broadcast channels are provided in English, Chinese, Korean, French, Russian, German, Japanese, and Thai. Other languages are broadcast through community–run channels on the official Overwatch World Cup team page. Prior to the third edition of the event, Disney and Blizzard Entertainment announced a multiyear deal for coverage of Overwatch esports.
|#||Year||Champions||Score||Runners-up||Third Place||Score||Fourth Place||No.|
|4||2019||United States||3–0||China||South Korea||3–0||France||10|
All-time table for knockout round
|No.||Team||App's||Overall records||Best finish|
|1||South Korea||4||+4||12||11||1||34||7||6||+27||Champion (2016, 2017, 2018)|
|2||United States||4||+4||5||2||3||9||9||2||±0||Champion (2019)|
|3||China||4||+4||7||3||4||10||13||1||-3||Runner-up (2018, 2019)|
|6||Sweden||2||-2||5||2||3||13||8||1||+5||Third place (2016, 2017)|
|7||France||4||+4||5||4||5||13||20||1||-7||Fourth place (2017, 2019)|
|8||Finland||2||-1||4||1||3||3||8||1||-5||Fourth place (2016)|
|9||United Kingdom||2||-1||4||1||3||3||9||2||-6||Fourth place (2018)|
|10||Australia||2||-1||2||0||2||2||6||0||-4||Quarterfinal (2017, 2018)|
An MVP award for the Final Round of the OWC has been awarded since the inaugural tournament in 2016.
|Overwatch World Cup MVPs|
|2016||Gong "Miro" Jin-hyuk|||
|2017||Félix "xQc" Lengyel|||
|2018||Bang "JJoNak" Sung-hyeon|||
|2019||Jay "sinatraa" Won|||
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