Blizzard is bringing back the Overwatch World Cup in 2023

After a 3 year hiatus, Blizzard has announced the return of the Overwatch World Cup.

Overwatch esports has been on a downward spiral ever since the last Overwatch World Cup in 2019 but Blizzard is determined to bring it back. With the release of Overwatch 2 and the lifting of travel restrictions, the global event is poised for a comeback in 2023.

overwatch world cup
The return of Overwatch World Cup

The recent announcement came at the Legends Battle tournament in South Korea. The dev team and notable faces in the community were ecstatic to reveal the return of the game's foremost tournament after a 3-year hiatus. The United States won its first cup in 2019 after four years of competition, by defeating China 3-0, but a lot has changed since. Overwatch as an esport has experienced significant turmoil with team size being taken from 6 down to 5 with Overwatch 2 and the release of Valorant.

36 countries from across the world will participate in the return of the Overwatch World Cup with their announcement coming in January 2023. Throughout the first three years of the competition, in which South Korea took home the trophy, the format was fairly simple. The teams were formed using a popularity vote, with Overwatch players voting for their favorite player from each country and region. The top six teams qualified directly to the Overwatch World Cup group stage, with another 50 teams competing through a Play-In stage bracket for the remaining positions.

In 2019, the Overwatch World Cup was later split into three stages, with any country being able to participate in the opening preliminary stage.

The 2023 Overwatch World Cup's format appears to be more complex. The tournament will follow the same three-stage format due to administrative purposes, with qualifiers, a group stage, and the Grand Finals. The key difference is that the process will kick off long before the World Cup Qualifiers begin in June 2023.

The first stage of the upcoming Overwatch World Cup will include selecting 36 nations and regions, as well as creating regional teams through committee applications. Following the tryouts and team selections, the Overwatch 2 World Cup Trials will take place. The World Cup Qualifiers will kick off in June 2023, where 36 teams from across the world will battle it out through 6 regional qualifying events. Only 16 of them will advance to the group stage, which will feature a round-robin format. The top 8 teams will advance to the Overwatch 2 World Cup Finals, taking place in the autumn of 2023.

reaper overwatch wc
Overwatch League Reaper skin

Blizzard's interesting approach could rejuvenate the scene as it includes professional and ranked players. Creating committees and competing on an international stage should help players make a name for themselves and receive exposure. It might also help lesser-known regions and countries make an impact on the global Overwatch stage. Many hope this will lead to the most competitive international event in Overwatch history and reignite fan interest in the competitive scene.

Scott Kostov

A passion for writing and gaming has propelled Scott down the path of content creation. When he isn't scouring every known source on the internet for information, he's a track addict vibing to music in the countryside of sunny Macedonia. Link up with Scott on Twitter and Steam.
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