It has been confirmed, Overwatch League’s commissioner Nate Nanzer is leaving Activision Blizzard in favor of joining Epic Games.
Hey Overwatch League family. I wanted to share that soon I will be leaving Blizzard for a new opportunity. This has been the toughest decision of my life, because it means I won’t get to work with the best staff, players, teams, owners, partners, and fans in esports anymore. 1/4
— Nate Nanzer (@natenanzer) May 25, 2019
Not only did the news of this leave many surprised, but opened new questions. Why did Nate Nanzer leave the Overwatch League and what does that mean for Fortnite’s Esport?
Who is Nate Nanzer?
Before becoming a commissioner in the Overwatch League, Nate Nanzer worked in consumer insights at Blizzard. He came to prominence after suggesting an idea for an esports league to the vice president of Blizzard Entertainment Jeff Kaplan.
An idea like this spread through Blizzard, and a professional sports-like league was set to happen. However, the League needed buyers, and that’s where Nanzer steps in. Together with some executives, amongst whom are the CEO’s of Activision Blizzard Robert Kotik and Pete Vlastelica, Nanzer enlisted potential buyers for the franchise. The future owners were required to pay a sum of $20 million per franchise, and amongst them was the Boston Uprising’s Robert Kraft, who recently got accused of soliciting prostitution.
Since the launch of the OWL in 2017, it has grown to be one of the most ambitious Esports undertakings ever. Not only did franchise slots rise to $40 million, but teams are expected to play home and away games in the future as well. Taken away from this, I can conclude that Nanzer established himself as the persona who delivers prolific ideas and has the skill-set to make them appealing to the buyers.
The next logical question to this would be, why did the Overwatch Leagues commissioner switch hearts to Epic Games and how will losing him affect the future of the game?
Why did Overwatch League’s commissioner shift to Epic Games?
Although Nate Nanzer has answered all of these questions through Twitter, there’s more to this than meets the eye.
As Epic Games have still not entered Esports in its full sway, acquisitions of Nanzer and Psyonix (the developer behind the game Rocket League), will be a boost to the League structure in the future. Establishing trademark events comes as a crucial part in order for the Company to succeed and lure in big names. That is where people like them earn their money.
Considering that Fornite will host their World Cup finals in New York this summer, I believe Nanzer will get a perfect opportunity to take the most out of the occasion and bring in a sustainable structure to the game. It will be interesting to see which model will Nanzer choose, but the vast number of opportunities might be one of the reasons why the Overwatch League’s commissioner shifted to Epic Games.
What will Nate Nanzer bring to Fortnite?
Depending on the authority that will be given to Nanzer in his decision making, he will bring in knowledge and strategies accumulated while working with the OWL. At their disposal, Epic Games will have $100 million dedicated for the Fornite competitive circuit and will look to use them wisely. Nanzer has shown the capability to hype and promote events, and a part of his dedication will definitely go to the audiences.
Although Overwatch League did not lose a figure important for the day-to-day operations of the game, it will be missing a person that can look at things from a higher perspective. Epic Games will profit from the loss of their rival company, but will not sack them with this move. Pete Vlastelica, CEO of Activision Blizzard’s e-sports division, has already been appointed as the next OWL commissioner.
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. 4/4
— Nate Nanzer (@natenanzer) May 25, 2019
As unlikely as it is that Overwatch League commissioner ‘s change of sides to Epic Games will bring an end to the previous franchise, it might mean a fresh beginning for the new one. Since the destiny of the Overwatch League has been put under speculations recently, I suppose this shift might even end up going in their favor.
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