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Overwatch’s Open Division begins in five regions on Jan. 11. This time around, there’s a cash prize waiting for the top four teams in each tournament. While the $450 prize won’t be covering any player’s rent, the mere existence of a cash prize encourages participation in the competition.
Open Division is a form of “tier three” Overwatch competition that allows any player of any skill rating (SR) to join or create a team. Over six weeks, teams participate in a Swiss-style bracket where they’re paired up against teams at their skill level. Two games are played per week. Week seven is the playoffs. Players in North America, EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa), South America, Pacific, and Australia can sign up with a team as early as today.
For most players, Open Division is an opportunity to have fun with friends and improve at the game in a team setting. The stakes are much higher for top-tier teams. The top eight teams in each Open Division region move on to Overwatch Contenders Trials. If those teams manage to be in the top eight of Contenders Trials, they move on to a week of actual Overwatch Contenders competition. In 2020, Open Division players have the ability to get noticed in the tier-two scene by playing at the highest level.
Open Division teams who place first through fourth in their region will now receive $450 to be split among their active roster players. This amounts to approximately $75 per player. While this is by no means a huge payday for any player, it’s enough to encourage more participation in the event. It’s also a step in the right direction of more monetary support in the tier-two and tier-three scenes of competitive Overwatch.
Team registration for North America ends at midnight on Jan. 5. Open Division games begin at 2pm CT on Jan. 11, 2020.