What Overwatch League Mvp, Jay "Sinatraa" Won, Retiring Means for Overwatch and Valorant
Jay "sinatraa" Won is a personality within the Overwatch League- Blizzards title "Overwatch" tier 1 competitive scene- who had just came off a championship season with his team the San Francisco Shock, 1 of 20 teams within the league. He is also coming off of an MVP season and won the World Cup Championship for USA and also gained another MVP award for Overwatch's yearly World Cup held at Blizzcon.
Jay has captured many fans of Overwatch since 2016 for his toxic personality yet very high skill within the game. He began to grind once Overwatch announced the League coming for 2018 and was signed by the San Francisco Shock on a $150,000 contract, $100,000 more than the minimum contract and at the time was the highest payed player in the League. Fans praise him for his successful Season 2 Run for the Shock and put up stellar performances. He also had redeemed himself and went from a 16 year old immature kid who would curse out others in games to an in-game leader for their team and a huge reason for their success.
Overwatch League had a successful season 2 and decided to change up the format. Games were being taken internationally to where teams were being located so crowds can finally cheer on their team in their home city. However, the recent outbreak of COVID-19 saw matches being cancelled left and right, first with the 4 Chinese teams homestands being cancelled and the teams being relocated to South Korea in February, which later escalated to everything being cancelled and forcing competition to be watched only by watching the stream through Youtube Gaming.
During the month of April, Riot released their new game VALORANT, which is a 5v5 first person shooter and a mix of shooting elements from Valves Counter Strike: Global Offensive to the hero and ability aspects that Overwatch has. A beta key was only released via Twitch keys.
The game blew up quickly overpassing Fortnites all-time peak on Twitch in just the first week of beta. Members from the Overwatch community including casters of the League such as Bren Hooks and Scott "custa" Kennedy, or players such as Houston Outlaws "LiNkZr" and San Francisco Shock's "sinatraa" endorsing the competition via their twitch streams. A podcast named "Plat Chat" ran by Overwatch Leagues favorites in production and casting, would talk on the competitor to Overwatch.
Due to Blizzard's lack of attention towards the tier 2 season of Overwatch, many players were quick to hop on to a new and promising opportunity in VALORANT instead of grinding for what appears to be nothing.
On April 28th, ESPN Esports reported that sources confirmed Jay "sinatraa" Won would be retiring Overwatch and leaving the league after his successful year with the Shock. Later that day, the official San Francisco Shock announced the departure of @sinatraa from the team effective immediately.
Coaches and players expressed their thanks and wishes towards his future such as Coach Crusty, who led them to a championship. Sinatraa himself made a twittlonger expressing his reasoning which was him being burnt out from the game.
It didn't come to much as a surprise to some about his retirements. His teammates shared on their personal streams about how he wasn't showing much effort in scrimmages and practice and he was always streaming VALORANT and grinding the new first-person shooter everyday on an hourly basis.
What this means for Overwatch and Overwatch League
Numbers of the League have been on a decline since the move to YouTube Gaming from Twitch. Many have been quick to say the League is dead. Which it is not and in fact will not be going anywhere due to Google's $160 million contract to own the rights to stream Overwatch League to Activision Blizzard. There is a constant 20,000 viewers per stream which was way less than what it was on Twitch, with a constant 70,000-100,000 people watching a stream. But the League is still enjoyable.
The departure of Jay "sinatraa" Won, however, shows how Overwatch as a game itself is failing. Jay mentions how the recent forced changes of Overwatch has caused him to enjoy the game less due to waiting hours just for a match to start, or how the game now restricts you from playing four certain characters for a whole week.
There will not be another personality like Jay in Overwatch unless Activision Blizzard start putting more attention and motives to play and grind their Tier 2 Scene. However, besides South Korea's scene, nobody knows much on North America or Europes players, as well as the South America, China, Australia, Oceanic, etc. No tournaments are ran often and the streams aren't advertised enough which are making teams pull out of the scene quick. Players feel like they are wasting their time and with VALORANT out now, Activision Blizzard has to act quick on their game and their competitive scene. The recent tournament for the new hero "Echo" was a great example of how to boost the Tier 2 Scene and if they can pump out more tournaments and advertise them correctly, it will give players motivation towards playing and grinding for a chance on the Overwatch League.
What this means for VALORANT and the Future
Teams are slowly starting to come into VALORANT and picking up streaming personalities and other promising gems to play for their competitive team. For example, "Sentinels" is a current team for VALORANT which signed former Overwatch League pro "sinatraa" and has also picked up players from CS:GO, such as former pros "ShAzAm" and "sicK." Cloud 9 has picked up one player so far and more orgs are picking up and forming their VALORANT teams.
The future of VALORANT looks promising. However, many have pointed out how picking up unproven streaming personalities and players would be a bad idea considering the game has been out for less than a month and it still has many bugs and exploits. The competitive scene is also not established yet and the game still has yet to release their much anticipated "Ranked" mode where all players can compete for a chance at the top of the ladder in VALORANT.
It is also concerning for Sinatraa since the VALORANT competitive scene could flop for him and he will have to resort to going back to the League if it does not work out. The game is still too young to predict what will happen, but with Riot managing the game, it should see similar success to their other majorly successful title "League Of Legends", with an established and insanely popular competitive scene which puts up good numbers despite the game being a decade old. VALORANT will keep on growing only if Riot can make it keep growing like they did with League of Legends.
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