With every other AAA game developer and publisher seemingly going out of their way to show their greedy corporate side these days, it’s a nice change of pace when a small, independent, mom and pop start-up development company finally gets the recognition that they deserve for their hard work. Earlier this day, Jeff Kaplan from the Overwatch Team confirmed that the Overwatch League fundraising event was a huge success and that he and his team were proud to do their part in the fight against the increasing influence of money in gaming.

Over the course of a week, the Overwatch League charity stream raised over $350,000 for Blizzard, a relatively new game development company that consists entirely of gamers who actually play the games that they make. “Unlike all these other huge corporations that exist for the sole purpose to make money, like CD Projekt Red, we here at Blizzard have a completely unique belief that games should be an enjoyable experience for gamers, by gamers,” Kaplan said. “That’s why we came up with the Overwatch League to showcase teams of friends from all around the world playing our inaugural game, Overwatch, while having fun in a totally stress-free environment with absolutely no pressure to do well whatsoever and no advertising money on the line.”

Donations to the Overwatch League stream came mostly in the form of small, incremental, and totally reasonable transactions made by fans of Overwatch. Those who donated $5 got a Hero skin of their choice to help represent their favorite Overwatch League team or city, while those who donated up to $100 received enough “OWLbucks” to potentially outfit their entire Hero roster with a team’s colors. At least one zealous fan even spent at least $800 to complete their collection of the Overwatch League skins, and yes, that includes the Florida Mayhem’s McDonald’s themed skins, apparently designed as a tongue in cheek way to raise awareness of the growing problem of obesity in youth across the world. “I don’t have a problem, you have a problem,” Monty Burns said. “Those skins are mine, my skins! Precious skins, my precious skins, filthy casuals and hobbitses can’t take precious away from me.”

overwatch jeff kaplan yule log

The complimentary letter of thanks that comes with each physical copy of Overwatch.

Of course, some pointed out that at $5 per Overwatch League skin, Blizzard ran the risk of succumbing to the dark side of microtransactions. “It’s all a bit pricey, isn’t it?” asked XXProHandsoapXX on the game’s official forums. “Like, I want to complete my collection too, but I don’t want to fuel microtransactions.” XXProHandsoapXX later admitted that he donated $50 during the Overwatch League stream, claiming that while no one forced him to do it, and he himself loathed the concept of microtransactions, he wanted to show his support for a company that was totally different from all the other companies out there and because he admitted that he actually had terrible self-restraint.

In any case, while it may seem like the Overwatch League skins are abnormally expensive, Kaplan wanted to reassure fans that most of the proceeds were going to be used to help fund future real-life content for certain lucky individuals, while the remainder would go to the various teams in the League to spend as they see fit. “We’re not trying to make Star Citizen here,” Kaplan stated, “we want to ensure that Overwatch fans will get access to a regular supply of completely free and completely new content, new things to complain about, and new balancing issues within their lifetime.”

Most professional outsider analysts agreed that they do not anticipate any confusion over the simultaneous existence of the Overwatch League and the Overwatch World Cup, as the average gamer not only has a very deep interest in Esports, but they also can be relied upon to provide accurate, meaningful, and unique and independent insight into everything gaming-related.

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Anson Chan

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