Overwatch franchise gains momentum with sequel’s strong start

Activision Blizzard reported in mid-October that its hero shooter Overwatch 2 had garnered over 25 million players in its first 10 days on the market. With the Overwatch League looking to a “new era” for its esports business, it was important that Blizzard’s sequel hit the ground running. “The game has proven to be a global phenomenon, already achieving a daily player base spread near-even across EMEA, Asia, and the Americas that’s nearly triple the previous daily player peak from the original Overwatch,” the publisher commented.

Overwatch 2 introduced some fundamental changes to the game, including a switch to five-versus-five multiplayer, a free-to-play model, a battle pass, and seasonal updates. Blizzard has been so focused (and confident) in its sequel, and galvanizing the community around it, that it made the decision to shut down the servers for the original Overwatch at the beginning of October.

The reception from critics has been largely positive as well, with Windows Central remarking that “the changes that the game makes to Overwatch‘s gameplay structure, progression systems, content release schedule, and presentation are absolutely stellar.” Things are only beginning to ramp up for Overwatch 2; Season 2 kicks off in December, and Blizzard is promising more updates, including a new hero and a new map.

In the meantime, Blizzard has been strategic in drumming up attention for Overwatch 2, releasing two waves of Twitch Drops in the first few weeks. Moreover, former Overwatch streamers and professional players like xQc, Seagull, and Sinatraa have returned to the scene, resulting in a considerable uptick in viewership. Impressively, for the week of October 21st, Overwatch 2 was the most-watched game on Twitch with almost 31 million hours watched, ahead of League of Legends during its Worlds 2022 quarterfinals and Dota 2 in the middle of The International 11 playoffs.

According to Interpret’s New Media Measure®, the franchise is definitely on the rebound. After some initial uncertainty from fans around what the sequel might have in store, Interpret’s data shows that Overwatch franchise fanship is climbing once again, although it’s not yet back to early 2021 levels when 14% of US gamers reported being a fan.


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