Intel and HP Omen are now official sponsors for upcoming Overwatch League tournament
Blizzard's first seasonal Overwatch League tournament kicks off next month after more than a full year since its initial announcement at BlizzCon 2016. Purportedly, the eSports league had been experiencing difficulties acquiring franchises due to the high cost of entry, but it appears to have finally gained traction in the past month now that Intel and HP have signed on to become the first sponsors for the premier season.
According to ESPN, both HP and Intel will be providing Omen-branded PCs and gaming monitors powered by Intel Core i7 CPUs for all televised events up until the end of the first season in July 2018. The move isn't out of the ordinary for either company as Intel has been hosting its own eSports tournaments via Intel Extreme Masters for years. HP is also a very frequent eSports sponsor and has been providing Omen products for professional players in order to buoy the Omen brand as a popular choice for gamers. Blizzard has called them "natural partners" for enabling high-level tournament play and reaching a demographic that may be more relevant to their products.
Perhaps deliberately, the announcement comes just days before the Overwatch World Cup in Irvine, California. It's clear that Blizzard wants to make the biggest splash it can for its eSports division to paint a healthy image for its viewers despite the backend hurdles and high upfront costs. In contrast to slower-paced titles like CS:GO, LoL, or DOTA 2, Overwatch is notorious for being a very dizzying game to spectate due to its twitch-based action, awkward camera movements, and confusing colors between teams.
The Omen brand kicked off in 2015 as inexpensive Pavilion systems equipped with mid-range Nvidia GPUs. Ever since then, Omen notebooks have evolved to include enthusiast-level machines in an attempt to attract more hardcore gamers.