Crunch Time: Overwatch League’s YouTube debut

Last weekend, Overwatch League made its debut for the third season…but on YouTube. Overwatch fans had a chance to see how some of their favorite teams have improved over the off-season, and how some of the newest additions mesh with the original rosters.

The first two seasons of the Overwatch League were broadcast to viewers at home through Twitch and were very successful. However, this isn’t the case so far in season 3.

From Twitch to YouTube

This year, OWL viewers at home will have to watch the matches via Youtube. Many fans were upset with the sudden switch, and with it comes the loss of some valuable perks such as the Overwatch League tokens and the Command Center. These two experiences alone were enough to keep a lot of fans happy and tuned into the matches, however, with the platform switch to Youtube, these incentives are gone.

overwatch league on youtube

If players would like to represent their favorite OWL teams in the game, they will now have to purchase the tokens for them with real money. This is a blow to the fans. It was easier to earn the tokens via Twitch, since we were already watching the games anyway.

I would even argue that the token drops were a strong reason for some people to tune in to more matches. I only watch the ones that my favorite team plays in. It would be safe to assume that many other fans are the same way and won’t spend their time watching two teams they don’t care too much about.

As for the Command Center, viewers could previously subscribe to the OWL Twitch channel and buy access to it for the entire season. Press conferences with players used to be held after the end of a long day of matches. Fans had their own chat where they could submit their questions and have the opportunity for them to be answered. With its debut on Youtube, that is no longer an option. This takes away a lot of the personal connection that players and fans could have by asking them serious – and, let’s be real, most of the time silly – questions.

Watch and learn… from the pros

During matches, fans could also view an entire map entirely from one person’s perspective. I personally used this feature to learn from some of my favorite players just by watching them. Most of the players in OWL stream, so someone else could argue to just watch them then. But when the OWL season is going on, many of these same people understandably put their streams on the backburner in order to dedicate their free time to practice and scrims for their respective teams. Either way, that’s another feature that’s gone after the YouTube switch.

We also can’t forget the opening weekend production hiccups. CRUNCH TIME popped up on the screen in the middle of fights so much that it became a meme among fans, players, and even team managers.

While it is not Youtube’s fault, Overwatch League’s production team made plenty of mistakes during the broadcast.  Hopefully starting today, those issues are addressed and we can all comfortably watch our teams play. As for the fan incentives that we previously had with Twitch, we can only hope that Blizzard heard us and we will start getting free 100 token drops again soon.

If nothing else, Overwatch League’s big debut on Youtube will certainly be one to remember.

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Natalie Pack

Professional nerd. Average console player who plays insane amounts of Overwatch. Occasional Twitch streamer.
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