Last week, the collective world of competitive Overwatch was rocked when Jay “Sinatraa” Won announced his retirement from the Overwatch League in order to pursue a career in VALORANT, Riot Games’ newest competitive game and their venture into the tactical FPS scene. It’s not every day a reigning world champion and league MVP jumps ship in his prime after becoming the face of the entire league. That’s exactly what Sinatraa did though, and it raises one question; What does Sinatraa’s retirement mean for the Overwatch League?
Sinatraa’s exit is a big loss for the Overwatch League which has been under a plethora of scrutiny lately. Losing arguably the biggest name and face of the league doesn’t look good no matter how it’s framed. Sinatraa contributed hero pools and 2-2-2 role lock as major factors for him losing passion for the game, features there has been a lot of discourse around, both positive and negative.
Sinatraa isn’t the first, though, as a number of players have opted to leave the game altogether and when trying to sustain and incredibly expensive esport, lack of interest in the game itself can be the fatal blow. The Overwatch League isn’t going to completely crumble because he left, but it’s obvious things need to change. The direction for the game Blizzard wants to go in and the lack of support in the tier two scene before it completely goes extinct should be their biggest focus. It can be saved. It’s just gonna take some work.
Another question must be brought up as well. Is Sinatraa making the right decision by switching from professional Overwatch to pursuing a career in VALORANT? The game has already shown tremendous potential since the launch of its closed-beta and the esports scene is already taking root. Sinatraa himself was signed to a team already and is an exceptional player.
There’s more to the decision than money and choosing between an established scene versus an unknown entity. He had lost the passion that drove him to want to be the best in Overwatch and once that happens to anyone, it is hard to continue pursuing it. It seems like Sinatraa has found a new passion in VALORANT, and for that, he made the right decision. Top that off with the massive potential the game has and the decision becomes all-the-more clear.
While it’s a tough loss for the Shock, they will be just fine. Sinatraa had been largely regulated to the bench for the majority of the 2020 season as San Francisco opted to play their other extremely talented DPS options available. His absence is most likely a culmination of a handful of things including his hero pool not being quite as strong as others on the team like Rascal and Striker and his loss of passion for the game which he has said made him not perform to the level expected of him. Losing their in-game leader will hurt more, but the Shock are full of top-tier players and the team atmosphere will help them all bounce back and they already started showing that.
There’s no other way to put the impact Sinatraa’s retirement has had on the Overwatch League as whole – it’s devastating. Teammates, fans and just about everyone involved with the league will no longer be able to see one of the best talent’s in professional Overwatch history on stage again. The league will recover, though, and Sinatraa’s legacy will always remain. That doesn’t make it any easier, though.
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