With the Overwatch League kicking off in just a few days time, third party competitions are in a bit of an odd spot, and have been in the months leading up to its launch. The most illustrious of these was Overwatch APEX, a South Korea based tournament run by OGN, one of the country’s biggest tournament organisers and broadcasters. They were getting ready for a fifth season of the tournament, but after receiving word that Blizzard were planning to partner with a rival broadcaster for a tournament, have decided to discontinue APEX.
As noted on InvenGlobal, OGN apologise to fans for not keeping the tournament going but “were notified that Blizzard was preparing a competition with another broadcast. Until that notification, OGN had been preparing for the next Overwatch APEX season, so we are very regretful.”
They make sure to state that they were happy to agree to “most of Blizzard’s conditions” for continuing to run a tournament - rules on prize pools, sponsors and more were changed recently to make way for the Overwatch League. They also note that Blizzard are a “very important partner” and that they “continue to have a good relationship with them.”
Naturally it’s hardly the end for OGN either, who run the official League of Legends tournament in the region too. “The eSports production scene is infinitely contested,” they say, “and big challenges were taken already, not only in Korea, but around the world as well. OGN will be putting in more effort to maintain our reputation as the origin of eSports, and with more active and innovative decisions, we will discover new eSports events that can lead a new era.”
It’s rather indicative of the state of affairs with the Overwatch League, which has become the sole focus for esports surrounding the game fairly quickly. Contenders, the official d-league style tournament for tier 2 and 3 teams to compete in, will effectively take the place of things like APEX around the world. Exactly where that leaves large scale third parties isn’t yet clear, but APEX will be missed by the community.
According to that thread, the Contenders tournament in Korea is being ran by MBC, a similar broadcaster to OGN who have a long history of StarCraft and other tournaments.