Overwatch 2 is once again crowdfunding its OWCS esports prize pool with a skin bundle


Blizzard appears to be making another attempt at crowdfunding an esports competition as it’s selling a skin bundle to Overwatch 2 players in order to fund the 2024 OWCS Dallas Major international esports series at DreamHack Dallas at the end of the month.

“We’re celebrating our OWCS Major champions with more than just a trophy – there’s also an ever-growing prize pool up for grabs, powered by the Azure Flame Hanzo Crowdfunding Bundle!” the studio, which is owned by Microsoft, says. “Blizzard will contribute 25% of the revenue* from all item sales in the Azure Flame Hanzo OWCS Crowdfunding Bundle (purchased together or individually) to the OWCS Dallas Major prize pool.” The asterisk is followed up with clarification: “Platform fees, applicable taxes and any other deductions paid to third parties will be deducted from the sales revenue received by Blizzard to calculate the OWCS Dallas Major prize pool contribution.”

In case you’re wondering, AAA studios owned by multi-billion-dollar corporations crowdfunding prize pools for tournaments is not remotely new. As we chronicled back in 2019, companies like Riot Games and Hi-Rez had already been doing it for a years when Blizzard tried it out on World of Warcraft fans with WoW championships.

However, later that year Blizzard tromped into controversy as it actually withdrew its $500K contribution after player sales surpassed that sum, which meant players wound up covering the entire pool after being told they’d merely be helping – and it was much less than pro players had expected.

The wording for this Overwatch 2 crowdfunding effort is much cleaner than the 2019 WoW debacle, primarily because it makes no promises or intimations about Blizzard’s share at all. The OWCS website, however, does clarify that the minimum prize pool is $300K per region for the entire series, but it does does not promise that Blizzard will put in $300K on top of the player crowdfunding. Presumably, it’s just making up any difference. Last year’s pool for OWWC made it all the way up to $500K thanks to players.

Overwatch 2 players seem resigned to the situation, perhaps because they’ve already lived through the collapse of OWL and are more willing to take what they can get. We spied one aghast Reddit thread this morning. “Are Blizzard broke? Why are we crowdfunding the Dallas prize pool for a multi-million dollar company?” one player wrote, reasonably concerned that if sales are low, the playerbase will be blamed for lack of interest in competitive. The replies exhaustedly chalked it up to greed. Note, the Reddit mods have since deleted the thread (as I was writing this post, in fact), but don’t worry; you can still hear the grumbling on Twitter.

“SUPPORT YOUR FAVOURITE SHAREHOLDERS AND GET A SKIN FOR A DEAD HERO,” esports streamer Arrge tweeted. “Give the money directly to your fav esports players instead.”

Source: OW2
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