It seems like Blackout esports is in a bit of trouble: Team Liquid has officially moved over to Apex Legends. After several months of playing the game on streams and not much in the way of official tournaments (and consequently, ways to earn big bucks), one of the world’s largest esports organizations has left behind the battle royale mode of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 in favor of Respawn Entertainment’s smash hit.
“The first thing would be that there wasn’t any interest from the devs for hosting any events or focusing on anything [esport] related for Blackout,” said Tanner “Rogue” Trebb on Team Liquid’s website in response to a question asking why the team made the move. “It was mainly just third parties doing things on their own and supporting the scene. The devs never said anything, they hadn’t shown any interest, so when Apex Legends came out, and Respawn came out and said they would support the [esport] scene, most of the competitive Blackout players switched over.”
That lack of official support for the esports scene has caused more than Team Liquid to jump ship. OpTic Gaming’s Seth “Scump” Abner has also made the move from Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Blackout to Apex Legends for his Twitch streaming. Battle royale competition aside, Black Ops 4 also has less than 10% of the viewer hours that Apex Legends is pulling in on Twitch.
Team Liquid’s Mr. Trebb highlighted why he thinks Blackout esports just can’t compare: the Legends. “In this game, there’s way more strategy or more of a meta because each player has a different, unique, ‘Legend’ on their team and each Legend can help their team in ways that other characters can’t,” he said. ” It’s kind of like a League of Legends type of thing, where you have a meta with characters who are stronger or weaker because of their abilities.”
Respawn came right out of the gate to officially support esports events for Apex Legends. Unfortunately, Team Liquid believes that Treyarch just hasn’t done the same for Blackout esports. Combine that with having just a fraction of Apex Legends’ viewer numbers on Twitch and Call of Duty’s foray into the battle royale genre may be dead in the water.