Hicham Chahine, CEO of top esports outfit Ninjas in Pyjamas, knows stuff about the Overwatch League. But if he told you he’d have to shoot an icicle through your head.
So he’s not talking, but here’s what we know about the Overwatch League so far.
Asked by our Ben Barrett if he could share anything new about Blizzard’s ambitious plan to radicalise esports, Chahine says “I’m not allowed to talk about it.” The remark came at the end of a chat at the launch of ECS season 3, in which Chahine struck a cautious tone about Overwatch’s future as an esport.
“I’m not the most optimistic person in the organisation about Overwatch as a title,” says Chahine. “Can it make it as an esport? It can make it as an esport. Will it make it as an esport? I can’t answer you, to be honest.”
He says NiP “are committed to the game, we’re invested in the game,” but adds the qualifier “for a set period of time.”
It’s clear he’s a fan of the group’s Overwatch team, though, saying “they’re performing extremely well, being ranked as one of the top teams in the world”, and hailing their professionalism when it comes to how they deal with sponsors and fans.
“We will keep on supporting them, for the time being.” There’s that time constraint again.
“It’s up to Blizzard, really,” says Chahine. “The Overwatch League and the independent tournament licences [need] to start coming through. And most importantly, creating a spectator-friendly game that you can actually build content around. That’s what it comes down to.”
The Overwatch chat in the video above starts at around 06:32. Earlier in the interview, Ben and Chahine chat about Counter-Strike and what to expect from the coming season, so check that out if you’re also a fan of Valve’s big shooter.