Overwatch 2 World Cup to return in 2023, Blizzard announces

The Overwatch World Cup is set to return for Overwatch 2 in 2023, with 36 countries and regions set to compete in Blizzard’s big multiplayer FPS competition

Overwatch 2 World Cup - Tracer in her Union Jack 'Sprinter' skin

Overwatch 2 will see the return of the Overwatch World Cup in 2023, Blizzard announces. The major international competition for the FPS game has been absent for the past three years, with Overwatch League pros carrying the card for the esports scene. Now, as football fans worldwide prepare for the FIFA World Cup Final between Argentina and France, Overwatch 2 is preparing to bring together 36 national teams to compete for its trophy.

The Overwatch World Cup 2023 is planned to start in June 2023, with regional qualifiers taking place to determine the top 16 teams that will compete in the Group Stage and Finals in autumn 2023. Blizzard says that it will announce the competing countries and regions in January, at which time it will also open applications for each competition commission that will be responsible for tryouts and team selection.

While it might seem likely that these spots will be dominated by Overwatch League and Overwatch Contenders pros, Blizzard is hosting an open tournament in February called the World Cup Trials that will net the winning players a guaranteed spot in tryouts for their team. Those who fall short will be able to sign up from March – Blizzard says that you’ll need to be at least Diamond rank in Overwatch 2 competitive play, although we suspect the successful entrants will come from higher up the ladder. It’s always lovely to see an underdog story, though!

Along with getting to see the world’s best Overwatch 2 players in action, fans will also get a number of in-game Overwatch 2 challenges and rewards to celebrate the tournament as it progresses. Hopefully we’ll also get our hands on team skins as well!

It’ll be interesting to see which countries star in the tournament – South Korea is likely to be a favourite, having held a vice grip on the trophy for its first three years, but they’ll have to overcome reigning Overwatch World Cup champions the United States, who defeated South Korea in the 2019 semi-finals before securing the trophy against China.

The Chinese Overwatch 2 scene has only continued to flourish since then, so they should also be considered serious contenders – although the recent expiration of a Blizzard China deal with Netease has thrown the scene into turmoil. There’s also likely to be some notable competition from the likes of France, Sweden, Canada, and Denmark, and of course the United Kingdom will likely be there in force, hoping for a better showing than their disappointing 2019 performance.

As Overwatch 2 season 2 continues, the first notable Overwatch 2 patch notes of season 2 are here, with Blizzard teasing a “soft rework” for Roadhog alongside nerfs for Doomfist and buffs to newcomer Ramattra’s abilities. We’ve also got a guide to all the Overwatch 2 Winter Wonderland skins on offer in 2022, so you can celebrate the season in style.