Off of a recent tweet from the head of the Overwatch League, Sean Miller, the age restriction for players has been reduced from 18 to 17 years old. This allows young prospects from all over the world to join the league a year sooner than in previous seasons.
As we look towards the FA window opening on Friday, we’re excited to share that our minimum age for OWL competition will be 17 starting in 2023. In a free to play world, we want to make the top level of Overwatch competition as accessible and inclusive as possible.
— Sean Miller (@sean_mmills) December 22, 2022
Another big change heading into OWL 2023
Ever since the Overwatch League began, the minimum age for players was always 18 years old. This had a multitude of reasons, mainly due to the first two seasons focusing on moving players to California to play in the Blizzard Arena. Even as the league changed to online play, the minimum age rule remained. This left a lot of players who were skillful enough to play in the Overwatch League stuck in Contenders.
Now, lowering the age by one year allows young players to have a shot in the League faster than before. However, at the same time, this also means younger players will join the league, players with less experience in things like travel for LANs, team environments and the general esports life. Teams will have to give more resources to those younger players to help them adjust and feel comfortable playing in the top tier of Overwatch.
New players that can join teams in 2023
With this change, the free-agent market has widened to allow 17-year-old players that teams weren’t able to acquire. For example, one of the top prospects in Korean Contenders right now is 17, and that is O2 Blast’s Park “Junbin” Jun-bin. The tank player has proven himself Overwatch League quality with his success in Korea. Plus, with O2 Blast’s affiliation with the San Francisco Shock, fans are expecting him to go pro and join the Shock.
[2022 Contenders Run it back korea]
2022 컨텐더스 Run it back 결승전에서 @SinPrisaGaming 과의 경기에서 4:0로 승리하여 6번째 우승을 이뤄냈습니다!
🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆
항상 응원해주시는 팬 여러분께 감사드리며, 항상 좋은 경기력으로 좋은 성적을 위해 최선을 다하겠습니다.
— O2 Blast (@O2Blast_OW) December 3, 2022
There are plenty of others in that boat as well, including O2 Blast DPS player Lee “Viper” Jung-woong, T1 DPS player Han “A1IEN” Yu-bin, and support player Lee “LeeSooMin” Soo-Min. So, if teams are confident in their support of younger players, the talent is there. Making it work is an entirely different thing.