It appears to be like like Activision Blizzard’s Overwatch and Name of Responsibility professional leagues could possibly be in hassle. In a brand new submitting with the US Securities and Alternate Fee, the corporate mentioned that each leagues are going through challenges that would undermine their long-term viability, and it is unsure if will probably be capable of handle them.

The Overwatch League was a daring initiative when it was introduced in 2016: A league of city-based groups that will compete throughout seasons in home-and-away matches, main into playoffs and a championship. Mainly the identical as a traditional sports activities league, in different phrases, and with comparably steep buy-in prices that made it powerful to signal franchises.

The league was confronted with an excellent larger problem shortly after it launched—adn earlier than it correctly discovered its footing—when the third season was derailed by the Covid-19 pandemic, which ultimately led to roughly 50 workers being let go due to the league’s decreased concentrate on stay esports occasions. Issues obtained even worse later in 2021, when main sponsors started pulling out following revelations of widespread discrimination and sexual harassment at Activision Blizzard. 5 years after the beginning of the Overwatch League’s first season, it nonetheless hasn’t totally recovered from the up-ending: Sponsors have not returned, and full-time city-based gameplay stays a distant dream.

(The Name of Responsibility League debuted a pair years after the Overwatch League, in 2019, however was performed on PlayStation 4 consoles till 2021.)

In a Type 10-Q submitting with the SEC made on Could 4, Activision Blizzard acknowledged that the complications are beginning to pile up.

“Our collaborative preparations for our skilled esports leagues (i.e., the Overwatch League and the Name of Responsibility League) proceed to face headwinds that are negatively impacting the operations and, doubtlessly, the longevity of the leagues underneath the present enterprise mannequin,” the submitting says. “We proceed to work to handle these challenges, which may end in vital prices, and such efforts could show unsuccessful.”

That is a great distance from dropping out on the entire thing, and in reality Overwatch League head Sean Miller instructed Dexerto that Activision Blizzard stays “dedicated to Overwatch esports and rising a neighborhood,” and that it is “not going away anytime quickly.” It is also price noting that, usually talking, securities filings like this are obligated to cowl all of the bases, even comparatively distant potentialities that are not prone to happen.

However the Overwatch League is going through very actual challenges. The discharge of Overwatch 2 helped restore curiosity within the league after a pair years of flagging viewers numbers, nevertheless it stays to be seen how lengthy that can delay. Within the meantime, Activision is ready to be paid as a lot as $420 million in deferred charges from Overwatch and Name of Responsibility League groups, and Blizzard nonetheless has no publishing accomplice in China, which implies Overwatch 2 simply is not accessible there. That is an actual downside, as a result of 4 of the Overwatch League’s 20 groups are primarily based in China: The Chengdu Hunters, Guangzhou Cost, Hangzhou Spark, and Shanghai Dragons, though  a current Esports Advocate report says the Hunters have disbanded. The passion and confidence of 2017, when the Overwatch League appeared just like the pure subsequent step within the maintreaming of esports, seems like a distant reminiscence.

Activision Blizzard declined to touch upon the submitting.