More than 300 fans turned out at Xfinity Live to watch the Philadelphia Fusion as they played the Boston Uprising in game one of the inaugural Overwatch League World Championships. If you’re not in the know, the Philadelphia Fusion is a professional video gaming team in the Overwatch League (OWL).
Overwatch is a team-based, multiplayer, online, first-person shooter video game. It was released in 2016 and has game play that evolves with the fandom, meaning the developers at Blizzard Entertainment, Overwatch’s parent company, continually create new ways to play the game.
Overwatch stands out from the sea of first person shooting games for its emphasis on teamwork and its strong, and varied, female, LGBT, and differently-abled characters. These factors combined make it appealing to all ages, genders, and abilities, as showcased by the crowd gathered at the Xfinity watch party.
Unlike other esports, the Overwatch League is a city-based franchise system featuring 12 teams from major markets across North America, Europe, and Asia. Though the sport is in its infancy, having only started this first season in January 2018, it has exploded in popularity.
Over the last six months the teams have competed in Los Angeles with millions watching all over the world on live streams, leading up to the World Championships. The Fusion was the last team to join the league and to complete their roster, but they finished 6th in the regular season giving them a spot in the playoffs.
In true Philadelphia underdog fashion, 6th-ranked Fusion took the win over 3rd-ranked Boston in the first of three games in the quarterfinals. Their series concludes on July 13. The championship round will be played live at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn with the winners taking home $1 million.