Every day this week will we be releasing part of our interview with Fantic’s Chief Gaming Officer and Counter-Strike legend Patrik “cArn” Sättermon. Yesterday he spoke about Fnatic’s new store in London while today he jumps into Overwatch.
Fnatic certainly isn’t a stranger to supporting new games early on, but only on a few occasions have they jumped in as quickly as they did with Overwatch. Initially they transferred some of their players from other teams, such as Battlefield over to the game, but that team quickly left to form Reunited giving the organisation a new opportunity.
A few months after Overwatch officially launched Fnatic brought in its current lineup, which features a mix of North American, European and Australian players. They mainly play out of the North American region and have proven to be one of the top sides in the world, sitting just below the big names in terms of results.
Over recent weeks the team has looked incredibly strong and is already building towards the upcoming Overwatch League, the major competition that Blizzard is set to launch next year. Rumours suggest that this will be the biggest league Blizzard has ever ran, with millions of dollars being invested from many parties.
With a chance to speak to the Chief Gaming Officer of Fnatic, who is in charge of all of their teams, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk about one of the most exciting eSports in the world and the mysterious Overwatch League.
eSports Pro: Overwatch is still a relatively new pickup for you guys. How have you been finding Overwatch as an organisation with a rapidly improving team?
Patrik “cArn” Sättermon: “It’s amazing and I’m very emotionally attached to it. But yeah, we are super happy with the guys. We did our homework I believe when it comes to assessing the market. We found this good mix of American, Australian, and European players and they’ve now been with us for four or five months. We have seen quite a lot of success and I would say that we are the best NA team right now.”
eSports Pro: Just quickly on that subject, why play in NA when you have half the team that aren’t NA players?
cArn: “There are a lot of NA organisations, but they almost all have European players. This for us, felt like a solid option when it comes to going into the States. Sure we have European players, sure we are here in Europe right now, but the ambition over a few months is to relocate all of them into a gaming house hopefully on the west coast.”
eSports Pro: You seem to be really excited about the possibilities for Overwatch, and you are clearly pumping in a lot of money, but do you really believe it will become as big as LoL, CS:GO or Dota?
cArn: “I think Blizzard still has a little bit of work to when it comes to converting the average player to eSports. Looking at the player base, looking at the numbers, and comparing that to the livestream numbers for example, there’s something off, right?
I think we need to build up the story lines, we need to have ambassadors, we need to do more events and tournaments. I think Blizzard has all the components they really need to create a very successful eSport title. I think they have great matchmaking, the ranking, the gameplay, I think is just a beautiful game.
It has a relatively low barrier to get into I would say. Now, it’s about promoting eSports because I think it has again, everything it needs. Spectator mode surely need to be worked on, but yeah, super positive. I think overall it definitely places itself within the top three eSports titles in maybe 12 months time. That’s my expectation, but yeah, let’s see. I’m super excited. We invest a lot into the space and we’re very happy where we are.”
eSports Pro: The Overwatch League is a thing that’s happening, but that’s about all we know. I’m guessing the aim for you guys is to make sure you are in that league and playing in it. Have you already had talks about that, do you know what’s going on?
cArn: “What we know is similar to the entire community I guess, but we have somewhat of an idea of Blizzard’s plans. They did an announcement over at BlizzCon and surely we expect ourselves to be a part of it. We are however, not going to surrender our core values for it. I’m not saying they are not either, but we focus a lot on the player’s, bootcamps, coaches, Fnatic probably more than many other organisations out there. We are not very geographically rooted in a way that we have 36 players around the world in maybe 20 different countries across two, three different continents.
Looking at Overwatch as it is today and what an amazing journey it had already, knowing some of the eSports people in Blizzard, they really know what they’re doing. I just hope there’s going to be a solid model in terms of determining a team and location and whatnot.”
Tomorrow cArn goes in depth on the difficult last six months for the Fnatic CS:GO team.