L.A. Broadens E-sports Presence; 'Apex Legends' Apologizes

Courtesy of Activision; EA

'Call of Duty' league gets a second Los Angeles team; Respawn CEO Vince Zampella issues apology for dev's comment that "crossed a line"; Overwatch League releases 2020 schedule, first to be hosted in multiple cities.

E-sports Arena is a curated weekly roundup of the biggest stories in the world of online competitive gaming.

The Call of Duty League has grown once again with two new teams: in Florida and Los Angeles.

The new Los Angeles team, the city's second CoD squad, is headed by Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, which also owns a local Overwatch League franchise as well as the NFL's Los Angeles Rams. Josh Kroenke, co-founder of KSE’s e-sports division, thanks the group’s investment in Overwatch League for this new deal, saying “after the early success and staggering growth of the Overwatch League, KSE Esports is excited to expand its relationship with Activision Blizzard in Los Angeles as a founding franchise of the new Call of Duty e-sports league.”

Meanwhile, the Florida franchise was purchased by Misfit Gaming, a Germany- and Florida-based group with teams in League of Legends’ European Championship Series and the NBA 2K league via an affiliation with the Miami Heat.

The two new teams join previously announced franchises in Dallas, Atlanta, New York, Paris, Minnesota and Toronto. The Call of Duty League will be kicking off its new city-based format in 2020, with each team playing a home-and-away schedule. The new format will replace the current Call of Duty World League, which saw eUnited win its World Championship this past weekend. 

Elsewhere, the CEO of Apex Legends developer Respawn Entertainment has apologized for comments made by some of the game's developers last week. The apology comes after a Reddit thread with criticism about microtransactions added to the game during its Iron Crown event became hostile, with some developers calling the critics “freeloaders” among other insults. In response, Respawn CEO Vince Zampella tweeted on Monday, “Some of our folks crossed a line with their comments, and that’s not how we want Respawn to be represented.” 

Here’s what else is happening in the world of e-sports.

Overwatch League’s 2020 Schedule Released

The Overwatch League has released its 2020 season schedule, which kicks off February 8 in New York and Dallas. The 2020 season is the first in league history to feature games held entirely in home arenas throughout the league, as opposed to the Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles, which played host to the majority of the league’s previous matches. Each team will host at least two weekends of matches in its home arena, with 52 total homestands planned throughout the year. 

PUBG Gets Console Cross-Play

During the Inside Xbox at Gamescom presentation on Monday, the PUBG Corp announced that its battle Royale game PLAYERUNKNOWN’S Battlegrounds will soon be receiving cross-play functionality between PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The update, which was revealed along with the game’s upcoming season four content, will be implemented for matchmaking between the consoles in testing servers in September, with the goal to go live one month later in October. No plans for the PC version to be part of the cross-play initiative were included in the announcements.

London to Host Pokémon World Championships in 2020

At the end of this weekend’s Pokémon World Championships in Washington D.C., The Pokemon Company revealed the event’s next destination: London. The 2020 World Championships will be the first for the new Pokémon Sword and Shield games launching in November, a fitting debut as the games are set in the new United Kingdom-influenced Galar region. Additional information, including the dates of the tournaments, have yet to be revealed.