3. The "traditional sports" approach
Overwatch is one of the most popular games in the world, and when its lead developer, Blizzard Entertainment, launched the Overwatch League (OWL) last year, it blended esports and traditional sports in a myriad of ways.
Details: First and foremost, all 20 OWL teams are tied to a city (13 in the U.S. and 7 abroad) — a common model for traditional sports but unusual for esports, which is full of free-floating teams and one-off tournaments.
- OWL employs a commissioner, uses a familiar format (regular season, playoffs, etc.), and players are guaranteed minimum annual salaries.
- Many Overwatch owners take the "traditional sports" approach mentioned above and focus all of their time and money on this one franchise.
- Next season, OWL will fully adopt the away/home format, with games taking place in home arenas for each team.
How to play: Teams consist of six players, each of whom controls one of 26 "heroes" — cartoonish characters with unique skill sets who fall into one of four roles: offense, defense, tank or support.
- It's a bit like basketball, if you think about it. Each player has certain strengths and weaknesses, plays a specific "position" and is expected to perform their clearly-defined role to help the team win.
Go deeper: Esports' grand Overwatch experiment