‘Chiu on This’ is a short and regular opinion blast
There have been multiple problems throughout the Overwatch League from top to bottom. The most recent one are the problems in the Boston UpRising as reported by VPEsports. However there was also the misconduct of Contenders players by GGEA, the lack of payment from Eagles/enVision, and these are only the problems we have heard about. There are likely more.
Because of that, the Overwatch players are in dire need of a player’s union as the players need basic protections. I’ll give an example, if an Overwatch Player’s Union had already been established then every one of those players I talked about could have taken their contract to the union and have it checked out by a lawyer or figure out the standard levels of play relative to their skill/results/branding.
While it’s a good idea, if someone had to ask me the chances of one being created, I’d say around 3% or lower. Player Unions only work only if the players have enough incentive to create one. While they can hear about all of these terrible things going on to other players, it doesn’t affect them on an emotional level the same way it would if it specifically happened to them. Additionally, a majority of them spend a majority of their time practicing on getting better because that is an immediate goal that they have to reach, whereas a player’s union is similar to global warming. It’s important, but it’s somewhere in the distant future. Then you have to take into account the Korean players. This is a region of players who have culturally grown up to listening and respecting their elders and so have often been screwed over by their managers or coaches. As far as I know, Korean esports have never successfully created a player’s union. Finally, OWL is a multinational league so you need someone who can corral everyone together, organize it, and structure it to fit everyone’s needs.
If we want to look historically at esports, two player’s unions have been created in League of Legends and CS:GO. In League of Legends, the impetus started from the game developer in Riot. While Blizzard could do that as well, they’ve already stated that they will neither promote nor hinder such a move. As for CS:GO, there were multiple start and stops with the move. People like Richard Lewis and SirScoots helped create it. In the case of Overwatch League, the people I think could be qualified to organize and do such a thing all currently work for Blizzard. Even if there was someone who had the drive and skills to do all of that in Overwatch, it would probably take longer than CS:GO as the player base is different. A majority of the players in CS:GO are from NA/EU. In the case of OWL they are from China, Korea, NA, EU, and it could potentially grow further as more regions could enter the league.