It’s indeed sad news for Overwatch and the OGN APEX fans worldwide as the South Korean cable television channel which specializes in broadcasting video game-related content and esports matches has announced that they will no longer be involved in the Overwatch scene. Following this announcement, it is safe to assume that the fifth season of the prestigious OGN APEX will not take place, and the void which it leaves will be filled by Overwatch Contenders (OWC).
Since 2016, OGN has been the main organizer and broadcaster of the prestigious and oft-touted as the pinnacle of pro-Overwatch pro scene, the OGN APEX. According to reports posted on InvenGlobal, Blizzard has opted to partner with a different broadcaster for the OWC circuit (presumably for the South Korean region), effectively severing their ties with OGN.
The official statement from OGN which was translated to English read: “We did our best and agreed to most of Blizzard’s conditions on continuing the competition, but we were notified that Blizzard was preparing a competition with another broadcast. Until that notification, OGN had been preparing for the next season, so we are very regretful.”
“The eSports production scene is infinitely contested, and big challenges were taken already, not only in Korea, but around the world as well. OGN will be putting in more effort to maintain our reputation as the origin of eSports, and with more active and innovative decisions, we will discover new eSports events that can lead a new era.” it added.
OWC is part of the Overwatch League’s ‘Path to Pro’ progression and ladder system, where aspiring players plod through and compete against other mid-tier players and teams in hope of being noticed and recruited by the OWL teams. It is a no-brainer for Blizzard to opt for an alternate broadcaster for OWC and distancing themselves from the main backers of the APEX Circuit, which is essentially a direct competition.
The OWL is supposed to be where the best players compete in, and the fact that all finalists (except RunAway & AF Blue) from the previous OGN APEX Grand Finals are competing in the OWL is proof of this. Season 1 winners, EnVyUs rebranded as Dallas Fuel while two-time winners (S2 & S3) Lunatic-Hai were essentially repackaged as Seoul Dynasty. Season 3 losing finalist, KongDoo Panthera merged with Season 4 winners GC Busan to form London Spitfire, while fan favorites, LW Blue fills up the New York Excelsior roster.
This apparent ‘streamlining’ of the Overwatch pro scene also enables easier tracking of the players and while we are definitely bummed to see the end of the APEX circuit, we welcome the linear structure of the scene overall. With this news, expect other Developmental League series such as Overwatch Premier Series (China) and Overwatch Pacific Championship (Pacific) to be rebranded as Overwatch Contenders for their respective regions.
OGN APEX has brought us brilliant matches and what better way to represent the quality of the circuit with our 2017 Overwatch Match Series of the Year, Lunatic-Hai vs KongDoo Panthera which we discussed here.
Want to know more about the upcoming Overwatch League? Well you’re in luck as we have tons of stuff on it here: