Esports Arena: 'PUBG' Event Postponed by Coronavirus Concerns; 'Overwatch' League Exec Sparks Backlash

PUBG - Screengrab - H 2018

Elsewhere in competitive gaming: Los Angeles soon to be home to "largest public esports arena on the West Coast" and 'Dragon Ball FighterZ' World Tour comes to a close.

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

A number of former Overwatch League broadcasters have taken issue with comments made by league vp Jon Spector during an interview at OWL's Opening Weekend event last week.

Speaking to ESPN Esports, Spector was asked about the shift in broadcasting talent in the offseason, when five broadcasters left the league. Spector responded by saying, "The more we can pull former professionals, people who live and breathe this game, the better off we’ll be." His comments quickly drew criticism from former OWL casters. 

"I don't know what the point of all these veiled insults towards the talent that left is," tweeted Erik "DoA" Lonnquist. "It's a bit hurtful after moving across the Earth and putting three years of my life into this project."

Christopher "MonteCristo" Mykles followed suit, tweeting, "What OWL is doing right now is attempting to cover-up their own poor management and decisions at the expense of people who put everything they had into the league."

Spector issued a statement in response to the criticism, where he apologized for his comments, insisting that he "did not intend to slight anyone" but that he also "failed to provide some important context before answering a question about my excitement for our 2020 talent lineup."

The exec added that the league is "proud of our 2018 and 2019 broadcasts, and we feel great about our lineup this season."

Elsewhere, PUBG Corporation has announced that the upcoming PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds event scheduled in Berlin for April has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Citing the World Health Organization’s declaration of a global health emergency, PUBG Corp’s official statement confirmed the delay while citing "the health and safety of our players, employees, and fans as top priorities."

Dates and times of other qualifying tournaments may also change as PUBG Corp monitors the situation, but the statement also says that the company is planning to run four qualifying events as promised.

Here’s what else is happening in the world of esports.

Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour Crowns Champ

After a season of fierce competition the Dragon Ball FighterZ World Tour Finals have come to an end, with perennial favorite Goichi "GO1" Kishida outlasting 15 other qualifiers to win the top prize. Kishida held off a tough opponent in Shoji "Fenritti" Sho in the Grand Finals to end the tour’s second season on top. Notable in his absence from the Top 8 was Dominique "SonicFox" McLean, who was eliminated after posting a 0-3 record in the Group Stage. 

A third season of the World Tour competition was announced along with a third season of Dragon Ball FighterZ content, which begins Feb. 26 with the Kefla character from Dragon Ball Super along with multiple changes to the main game, including the ability to choose assists for characters à la fellow fighting game Marvel vs. Capcom 2. Ultra Instinct Goku was also announced, but the playable character currently has no set release date. 

League of Legends Tops Most-Watched Esports List in 2019

Data firm Esports Charts has named the top five most-watched games for 2019 and League of Legends leads the pack with 478 million hours watched, nearly double the amount of second-ranked title Counter-Strike: Global Offensive with 284 million hours watched. The peak of LoL’s viewership came during the 2019 World Championship Semifinal match in November between G2 Esports and SK Telecom 1, which saw 3.9 million viewers. Rounding out the top five were DOTA 2 with 282 million hours watched, Overwatch with 81 million and mobile game Arena of Valor with 72 million. 

Largest Public Esports Arena on West Coast Coming to L.A.

Esports event and facilities company Nerd Street Gamers, in collaboration with global architecture firm Populous, have announced plans to open the "largest public esports arena on the west coast," Localhost Los Angeles, later this year. The facility will fill 26,000 square feet and contain 375 gaming PCs and consoles, and will have capacity for 120 esports teams and hundreds of spectators, according to the official press release. "This is going to be an iconic gathering place for the entire community," John Fazio, founder and CEO of Nerd Street Gamers, said. Localhost Los Angeles is set to open in Summer 2020.

Chicago Huntsmen Win Inaugural Call of Duty League Home Series

The first tournament-style Home Series for Call of Duty League took place over the weekend in London, and saw the Chicago Huntsmen sweep the Dallas Empire in the Grand Finals. The Home Series format follows a double-elimination tournament model with eight teams split into two groups. With the win, the Huntsmen gain 50 points in the standings ahead of the next Home Series in Atlanta on Feb 22, while the Empire gain 30 points with the loss and are off until they meet the Seattle Surge on March 1.