One of the most-anticipated announcements of the Overwatch League season dropped on Wednesday -- but with no shortage of caveats that likely will further adjust fans' viewing habits.
When the OWL moved from Twitch to YouTube for this season, the popular token drops fans used to purchase skins did not go along for the ride. On Wednesday, the league announced token drops were finally here for the 2020 season, but with some modifications.
Beginning this Friday, viewers can earn five OWL tokens for every hour spent watching games on OWL platforms. That is an increase from the three tokens per hour earned previously.
What's more, total hours spent watching OWL will determine token accumulation. So if a viewer watches 30 minutes of OWL play, logs off, then watches 30 minutes at another time, that cumulative hour will count as five tokens earned. In the past, only consecutive hours viewed counted toward tokens, and the clock would restart every time a user logged off.
But in order to accumulate tokens this season, users must have a Blizzard account and watch the live matches while logged into their Blizzard account and on either the OWL website (desktop and mobile) or the OWL mobile app. Per Blizzard's rules for the new token program, "Note that viewers on any other platform will not be eligible to participate."
That means watching live OWL gaming on YouTube will not count toward token accumulation.
Also, the program is limited to legal residents of 26 countries. Among the countries ineligible for the program are China and India, the two most populous countries in the world.
Tokens are used to purchase special skins and emotes unique to the OWL. Earlier this month, Blizzard announced it will still release a planned MVP skin for Jay "Sinatraa" Won despite Sinatraa retiring from OWL to play Valorant.
The OWL is in the middle of its third season. The Philadelphia Fusion currently sit in first place with a 12-1 record, one game better than the Shanghai Dragons. The 26-week regular season will be followed by the playoffs.
The May Melee -- special tournaments for the North America and Asia regions with a combined $225,000 prize pool -- will take place this weekend.
--Field Level Media