Fusion

Overwatch League commissioner Nate Nanzer departs to pursue new role at Epic Games

nate_nanzer_esports.jpg
Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment

Overwatch League commissioner Nate Nanzer departs to pursue new role at Epic Games

Overwatch League Commissioner Nate Nanzer has announced that he will be stepping down from his position at Activision Blizzard for a new career opportunity.

According to a report by ESPN, Nanzer, the man who has been the commissioner since the inception of Overwatch League has accepted a job overseeing competitive esports at Epic Games.

Nanzer broke the news on Twitter with a series of tweets thanking the Overwatch community for the support of the league and of how proud he is of what his team has managed to put together in the last few years.

“I can’t emphasize enough how proud I am of what we’ve all accomplished together. It has been the honor of my life to have been part of the team that helped build the league of #breakthrough, #BurnBlue, #pdomjnate, #CaptureHistory, #OWL2019, and many more,” Nanzer said.

The idea of the Overwatch League began with a pitch in 2015 by Nanzer to Overwatch’s League game director Jeff Kaplan while the title was still in production. Almost four years later, the Overwatch League is now well into its second season with a myriad of high-profile sponsors and having signed media deals that push the boundaries of the esports industry, whether it be with the Twitch All-Access Pass or broadcasts featured on ABC.

With the Overwatch League’s ambitious 2020 localization implementation on the horizon, Nanzer’s departure during this critical period has left many feeling uneasy. In preparation for 2020, the 20 Overwatch League franchises — including the PHL Fusion — have already begun preparations to bid Burbank farewell with the construction/renovation of dedicated esports venues such as the multi-million dollar Fusion Arena.

However, in regards to the future of the league, Nanzer assures that people give him too much credit and that he leaves knowing that its management is in good hands.

“I get way too much credit for the success of the Overwatch League. It’s been awesome to be our public face, but too many overestimate my role in making the league great. It isn’t about me, it’s never been. It’s about all of you,” writes Nanzer. “That’s why I’m confident the league is in great hands. I can’t wait to see where the team takes the Overwatch League in 2020 and beyond. And I’ll be cheering right there alongside you, every step of the way.”

Epic Games released the following statement in conjunction with the release of Nanzer's tweets.

"We're excited to welcome Nate to the Epic Games team, where he'll be working with us on competitive Fortnite," the statement reads.

In his place, CEO of Activision Blizzard Esports Leagues Pete Vlastelica will be taking over the role of Overwatch League Commissioner.

ZEDD to perform at 2019 Overwatch League grand finals

zedd_overwatch_league_grand_finals.jpg
Anton "Zedd" Zaslavski will perform at the 2019 Overwatch League Grand Finals

ZEDD to perform at 2019 Overwatch League grand finals

World-renowned award-winning record producer, DJ, and songwriter Anton "ZEDD" Zaslavski will be performing at the 2019 Overwatch League Grand Finals.

The event held later this month on Sept. 29 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia will feature a performance by Zedd along with the grand finals match of the 2019 Overwatch League season in which a new champion will be crowned.

This is not ZEDD’s first time putting on a show for an esports event. In 2016, ZEDD was approached by Riot Games to create the official song for the 2016 League of Legends Worlds Championship titled “Ignite” and perform live as the hit opening act 

As far as Overwatch is concerned ZEDD is a fan of the game and plays it along with other popular titles such as APEX Legends when he has free time in his busy schedule.

Compared to the misfire that was the DJ Khaled performance at the 2018 OWL Grand Finals, Overwatch fans are excited by the prospect of a show held by ZEDD as the latter himself is fairly familiar with the title.

ZEDD’s love for Overwatch and involvement in the OWL has extended in him being welcomed last year by the New York Excelsior as the unofficial 11th member of their team ahead of the franchise’s Homecoming Weekend

While the local franchise, PHL Fusion, may have been knocked out, attendees can still look forward to a weekend of fun.

In addition to ZEDD, the grand finals weekend will kick off with an outdoor concert held the night prior featuring the likes of Martin Garrix as the headliner along with special guests Matt Ox and PAZ at the Wells Fargo Center complex on Saturday, September 28.

Tickets for the 2019 Overwatch League Grand finals on Sept 29 at the Wells Fargo Center have already sold out on the official ticketing sites.

International Olympic Committee and Intel to host $500,000 esports tournament ahead of 2020 Tokyo Olympics

rocket_league_esports1.jpg
Psyonix/Epic Games

International Olympic Committee and Intel to host $500,000 esports tournament ahead of 2020 Tokyo Olympics

The International Olympic Committee and Intel, one of the world’s leading multinational technology corporations, have partnered up to announce the Intel World Open, an esports competition that will take place in the run-up to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

Featuring a $500,000 prize pool, the Intel World Open will feature Rocket League and Street Fighter V competitions in partnership with each title’s respective developers Psyonix/Epic Games and Capcom.

The Intel World Open kicks off with a series of online qualifiers in early 2020 for both titles followed by a live qualifier event that will take place in Katowice, Poland in June to determine which teams will be able to advance onto the main event. Intel and the IOC will host the World Open finals at Tokyo’s Zepp DiverCity venue from July 22-24, 2020, with an even split of $250,000 from the prize pool being up for grabs for competitors in each title.

IOC Sports Director Kit McConnell stated, "We are excited Intel is bringing the Intel World Open esports tournament to Japan in the lead up to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. As we explore the engagement between esports and the Olympic Movement we are looking forward to learning from this event and continuing to engage with the passionate esports community from around the world."

Event production will be handled by none other than ESL who has years of experience hosting large scale tournaments around the world for various esports titles. In 2018, ahead of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, ESL similarly collaborated with both Intel and the IOC to run the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) PyeongChang which featured esports tournaments for titles ranging from StarCraft II to Overwatch.

Following the conclusion of the Intel World Cup, the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics themselves begins two days later on July 24.