The coronavirus epidemic continues to leave the esports world reeling, and Activision Blizzard is now taking action in regards to their Overwatch and Call of Duty leagues. In a statement released yesterday, the company announced its decision to cancel all Overwatch League Homestand events through April. They followed up with another announcement today via Twitter, canceling all in-person Call of Duty League matches and moving them online.
— Call of Duty League (@CODLeague) March 12, 2020
Broadcast dates and details for these online matches are unavailable but will be “announced shortly.” The leagues’ main goal is to continue providing quality content to its viewers. They assure fans, saying “Call of Duty League is confident it will continue to deliver fans what they want: amazing competition between the best players, competing at the highest level, for the right to be considered the greatest team on earth.” Many companies are choosing to go digital as a way to safely release content to fans.
Overwatch League commissioner Pete Vlastelica, tweeted to confirm that their matches for March and April will still take place and be broadcasted. The league says they are exploring available options to facilitate these games in the safest way. Online play would be the most obvious way to go, but there are no confirmed details on this change. Their statements note that no other scheduled events have been canceled but they are continuing to monitor the coronavirus situation. The leagues ask that you “visit host team websites and follow their social channels” for information about specific events through this time.
These moves aren’t really surprising given the impact the outbreak has had on large events in the gaming world like E3 and GDC. There seems to be no end in sight for these cancellations, and it’s a clear sign that focus should be on health and well-being. For more information on the coronavirus outbreak click here.