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The Inequalities of the Regional OWL Streams

The May Melee brought out many positives seen in the tournament format, no hero pools, and overall high-level gameplay. One negative aspect that was highlighted was the inequality of the different Overwatch League streams that are being produced. For those in NA who stayed up to watch the APAC region matches, may not have seen everything that had been created as the English NA stream ended while the Chinese and Korean streams continued to broadcast content like interviews and bracket picks.

The Korean Overwatch Stream is broadcasted on Youtube. The Chinese broadcast is on Bilibili. The English stream is of course on Youtube as well. This article is looking only at these three streams, though there are more such as the French Overwatch League stream. These three streams showed how the Overwatch League as a whole is still a fractured community.

Two steps Forward, One step Backward

The language barrier seems to be one of the major factors that hinder the crossover content. The Overwatch League took a big step in Season 2. The League went the right direction having Danny Lim and Emily Tang as onsite translators. They provided on the spot translations and put the many of the players at ease during the interviews.

Season 3 brought localization, the community saw both Emily Tang and Danny Lim depart from the broadcast. Most Overwatch League teams do seem to have a translator if there are multiple Koreans on the team. While, Covid19 brought many changes, such as the online tournaments format, another consequence is that it has split apart the league into two distinct regions. Not only do these regions have their own teams, but also content is not shared between the broadcasts. The biggest misstep is not having the player post-match interviews, which are essential to getting to know the players, be translated for fans or even appearing on some region streams.

A team who took control

Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

The Florida Mayhem Season 3 has been doing an amazing job in this aspect. Jade ‘Swingchips’ Kim not only helps the NA community get to see the Korean players’ personalities but translates the interviews on stream. Her tweets of #BitsofMayhem give people an inside look at the team and players’ personalities. They aren’t just machines who play Overwatch, but instead relatable and personalized personalities within the community.

The goal should be to bring the regions together. Both the NA teams and the APAC teams have a lot to offer for fans. It would be great to see more teams taking steps like the Mayhem has, as well as the overall league, to promote more cross over content.

May Melee

One of the biggest failures that came from the May Melee was the dissidence when it came to content that was shown on the separate streams. The progression went it would start out on the Chinese stream where they would have a translator to ask the questions to the pro players or coaches. It would trickle down to the Korean stream after a little bit of a delay, while the English stream had been shut down right after the matches. This came in the form of interviews and picking the brackets. The only aspect that NA fans got was a graphic showing how the APAC brackets ended up as.

Chinese and Korean Streams Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment
All that NA broadcast showed of the APAC bracket picks Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

Chinese and Korean Streams

The Korean and Chinese streams had a few advantages over the English NA broadcast. It does need to be noted that the Korean and Chinese broadcasts are no longer functioning in quarantine. That means that some aspects of the broadcast are much easier to produce in person and not digitally like the NA stream have been. Though, that means the audio and video issues that Korean broadcast that appeared quite frequently could not be excused away by the mere fact they were remote, that the English NA stream could use.

One aspect is that it appears the Chinese and Korean streams are faster than the English stream. This is not just by a second or two, but a good amount of time. It was that on the Korean stream it showed that Shanghai Dragons had won Gibraltar, and the English NA stream was just starting to engage in the last fight. The delay means that some viewers will know the outcomes faster than others. It is a small aspect, compared to the content issue, but still shows how all the broadcasts are not aligned.

@CDhuntersFacts, a Chinese fan translating account helped confirm and look back at the Chinese VODs. The Chinese broadcast not only had player interviews for APAC, but it was with non-Chinese players. They had translators to help bridge the language gap. They seemed to be producing a lot of the content when it came to the May Melee bracket picks as well. The Chinese broadcast seems to have a balance when it comes to the production. Looking at the content of the broadcast wise, they seem to be at the forefront.

Blizzard’s Rules?

The Chinese and Korean broadcasts do, when it comes to the NA games, show the Watchpoint pre-show interviews. It is important to note, that these interviews and the whole of Watchpoint pre-show is untranslated. The APAC region streams also do not show the NA interviews after the match. This is interesting when it comes to the Florida Mayhem as their players they are interviewed are speaking Korean. It doesn’t make sense why the Korean Broadcast would not show the interview. It wouldn’t need to be translated.

This bring up the question is this a Blizzard Entertainment aspect, of what goes on what stream? Why wouldn’t a Korean interview that is being translated into English be shown on the Korean stream? The Chinese broadcast also has shown they have translators for Korean speaking players, so why would that not go on stream? If the English stream is already on a delay, why could there not be a translator to listen to the interviews that the Chinese broadcast and then translate it. Wolf ‘Wolf’ Schröder and Seth ‘Achilios’ King would do this during APEX or Korean Contenders, and give viewers a general sense of what is being said, which was appreciated.

Inequality of Broadcasts

This is cheating both regions out of fan engagement. The content that is being produced in both regions isn’t being shown to the other region. This is one League. Yes, it is split into two regions, which makes the cross content even more important. What is being produced in NA should be shown the next day in a pre-show for the APAC regions, so those fans can get to know the players of other teams. The APAC content deserves to be seen in the same way.

Many times the community will say that some of the Korean/Chinese players don’t throw salt, but if content is never shown any spice will be missed. A great example of this is during the bracket picks the coaches between the Shanghai Dragons and London Spitfire had a funny banter back and forth that ended with London saying they would make the Dragons regret picking them. That was missed by all of NA.

Hopefully this will be corrected. If NA fans wake up at 1am, 3am, or 4am to watch APAC they want all the content. On the other side, if fans in Asia wake up for the NA games they should rewarded will all the content that is being produced as well.


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