The Overwatch League has faced a lot of controversy over a lack of transparency in its code of conduct over the last couple of months. The league’s commissioner, Nate Nanzer, discussed player treatment in an interview with Dot Esports to clear up a few things and talk about future plans.
The company has started to hand out stricter punishments for breaking the code of conduct, including suspending and fining players that go too far.
“The league will continue to invest in things like media training for players. We have a process in place where if something happens, we decide we're going to action it. We have a whole team to discuss it. Lawyers are heavily involved. We draft a letter saying, here's what you did and here's the penalty. We send it to the player and we copy in the owner and the coaches,” explains Nanzer.
The interview talks about how players are interested in setting up a players union, and Nanzer says they would support this: “If players decide that it's in the best interest to form a union, of course we'd be supportive of that and have those discussions.”
When talking about a draft system, Nanzer explains that it is a possibility, but that there are difficulties: “The limiting factor on having a draft is that you run afoul of anti-trust law if you don't have a players' union to collectively bargain for the players. At such time when we have a players' union with collective bargaining, then we would totally explore doing a draft.”
The Overwatch League has been a massive success since launching in January, with more than 10 million people tuning in to watch in the first week. The popularity of the league has caused Activision Blizzard to triple the franchise fees for season two, while the continued success of Overwatch and other Blizzard titles mean that the company made more money in 2017 than they ever have before, without releasing a single new game.