eSports News by Content Engine AI

It’s easy to forget that this was the first game Blizzard created outside of World of Warcraft. Overwatch is now in its 6th year and was one of the first games to break past 500 million players and over $10 billion in sales. In 2018, Overwatch was one of the most watched esports in the world, something no other game has done.

Every single aspect of the game has received praise, from cosmetic items to cinematics, characters, maps, and loot boxes. We’ve seen exactly how this game, and this game alone, has endured and inspired a whole range of future games. Yet, how many of these games will actually use its core mechanics? We have to wonder how long it will take them to realize the state Overwatch is in.

Overwatch is all about the unique abilities of each player, built on a combination of hacks and blocking abilities. As gameplay is largely about players communicating while aiming down the sights of their guns, it’s easy to overlook the fact that this is essentially a multiplayer first-person shooter. If these games are going to make it big in 2019, we need to see them build their own features to fit this new world.

Cinematics will be one of the biggest stories this year. Gaming is at a point where both storytelling and immersion are important, and we expect all of the big players to be spending time on these in 2019.

Even though FOV are all the rage, we don’t expect all the big shooters to adopt these in the next year. We are less concerned with accessibility than authenticity here. There are certainly plenty of players who don’t want some silly-looking game that allows them to fire off kills with some weird-looking projectiles. But this is a fundamentally new era in gaming and we want to see it evolve into a more intuitive experience. Especially in some of the very complicated games that tend to take up so much of the market.

Just because an item is free-to-play doesn’t mean it doesn’t improve the game. Games like Overwatch are moving from single-player to multiplayer right before our eyes. In addition to standard characters, we are seeing a new kind of hero with the ultimates. Of course, Overwatch’s boss RPG aspects will be a big help in many multiplayer games in 2019, but a lot of those changes are unique to Blizzard’s game.

There are always the concerns about where these new and improved items will be used and how this will impact the players that have been loyal to the games for a long time. Fortunately, Blizzard has always been kind of crazy about monetization. Not only do we know that they have no plans to charge for character skins, weapons, or gear, but they are already working on a free-to-play version of Overwatch.

Overwatch is currently having a new season for Competitive Play. In the 2019 opening event, they are fixing up some features, like the first time pick and briefly removing “meta” event rules. The goal of the revamp is to bring back some of the smaller maps and introduce some of the new techniques we have seen in recent Counter-Strike maps, like the “waypoint forts” which basically work like biomes for a map. This should make it possible for players to see a ton of talented and crazy players, putting the pressure on them to prove themselves on the biggest stage possible.

Beyond these technical issues, what we most want to see in the new year is more new content. It’s encouraging to see a lot of the bigger publishers embracing this model, but we still haven’t seen any new maps, characters, game modes, or other additions to Overwatch. In this era of free-to-play, Blizzard and the rest of the big companies should be able to make up for years of content squandered. We’d also like to see the map splits come to a close and the game refined a little bit to bring it into the modern era.

At this point, a lot of these game seem to be relying on some of the old guard designs like the Paragon and Street Fighter V maps. They’re great in their own right, but are far too simplistic and unlikely to catch on for new audiences. We hope all of these changes happen as planned, but if not, we expect the rewards to increase in price. In the long run, the true measure of Overwatch is in what it does in the next year, so this is a big year for Overwatch.

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