China-based Overwatch League team Chengdu Hunters were not featured in the competition’s schedule announcement earlier this week, raising concerns over the franchise’s future participation.
Via Twitter, Overwatch League noted that the team is “contemplating its future direction” and that it also does not have any more information as to what might happen, and when.
The Hunters never won the Overwatch League, however, the team recorded good results in 2021, finishing top five in all events of the year.
Although the Overwatch League did not share any details about the team’s reasoning, the fact that Activision Blizzard is no longer present in China, after its deal with NetEase fell through, certainly affects the team. Despite this, other China-based franchises such as Hangzhou Spark, Shanghai Dragons and Guangzhou Charge will be taking part in the Spring Knockout Stage.
Chengdu Hunters have not been active on social media since January 23rd when the team said goodbye to fans and shared that Overwatch 2 is no longer available in the country.
According to Liquipedia, two of the Chengdu Hunters players, Mmonk and leave, left the team to join Hangzhou Spark in early March 2023.
The Overwatch League shared the following: “We will update the community further when we have more information to share. For the upcoming spring knockout stage, there will now be six OWL teams in the east region and they will be accompanied by six qualified contenders teams.”
The Spring edition of the East region of the Overwatch League kicked off on March 23rd, 2023, and is the first split of the newly created regional league. Activision Blizzard made major changes to the format of the Overwatch League in 2023.
The new East region is also the first one to incorporate a semi-franchised ecosystem, with both partnered and non-partnered teams present in the regular season.