Overwatch was one of Blizzard’s biggest projects in making a multiplayer game and was originally thought to be the eSports’ future. However, there have been recent rumors that Overwatch is a dead game. But, the question remains, is Overwatch dead? Stay tuned and find out!
How much effort is being put into Overwatch?
Since the release of the hero Echo in April 2020, there has been no significant new content for Overwatch. Developers introduced only skins and maps after then. Not only that, but games like Apex Legends, Fortnite, Valorant, and League of Legends keep their esports fresh by releasing new characters and in-game content regularly.
When the game originally came out in 2016, it was a huge hit. The FPS community loved it. There were a total of 21 characters, each with their own set of skills and personalities. You could play the game as you wanted; you could do stupid things and sometimes get away with it. The game’s popularity stemmed from the fact that you could choose how you wanted to play each character and what part you wanted to play on your team. Sure, there were flaws, but they were also kind of hilarious.
That same year, Overwatch published game mode after game mode. Everyone was very optimistic about the game’s future. Now fast forward to the present day. Overwatch has evolved to the point that it is practically unrecognizable. Sure, it’s better balanced, but it’s less enjoyable for players.
The hogs hooks from the other side of the world. the scatter arrows, immense resurrection ability. It’s all gone. What’s left is a game that instructs you on how to play it. Rather than allowing you to play. You must queue for a specific job and then choose one of three healers, otherwise, you will be thrown out. In addition, there hasn’t been a new character in over a year due to the recent development of Overwatch 2.
The fact that the game’s lead designer is stepping down does not speak well for Overwatch when considering the situation from a corporate standpoint. One of the lead designers, and, to be honest, someone who is effectively Overwatch’s public face, is stepping down. What is the message that this sends? Companies would usually ask workers to stay till lunchtime in these cases, even if they disagreed with some of the directives.
The fact that he’s departing now indicates that either he and Blizzard are at odds, or Overwatch 2 is in serious jeopardy. Jeff dedicated himself to the game as well as the community. He would only depart if he did not agree with the company’s direction. Or if he was attempting to disassociate himself from a forthcoming initiative that was not going to succeed.
The rise of competitor games…
There are a lot of games that compete with Overwatch. Well-known games like Team Fortress 2, WarFrame, Fortnite, Apex Legends, Valorant, CS:GO, and Paladins keep Overwatch on its toes. Overwatch appears to be fading out of the picture as competitors’ games are updated more frequently and introduce new content.
Team Fortress 2
Team Fortress is known as the “grandfather” of first-person shooter games. When Blizzard released Overwatch in 2016, millions of people played it, leaving many other games with a smaller player base. However, due to a lack of frequent new releases in recent years, Overwatch has lost the majority of its fan base, resulting in a decrease in Overwatch player count. Team Fortress 2, on the other hand, is still in the top ten games on Steam in 2021.
So far, elements are working in both games’ favors, so is Valorant better than Overwatch? However, how these variables will alter in the future is a major consideration. When it comes to competitive games, players usually want to know that they can count on the game to go a long time. No one wants to put time and effort into a game that will be obsolete in a few years, so what does the future hold for Valorant and Overwatch in terms of player count and popularity?
Valorant is still alive and well. Its esports scene is increasing, and Riot Games keeps adding new chapters to the game regularly. Developers constantly introduce new agents, abilities, and mechanics to the game. Overwatch, on the other hand, is a bit of a different tale. Events continue to occur at their scheduled periods, but Overwatch no longer receives new updates. It’s important to note that this is only a temporary solution for Overwatch. A sequel is on the way, which will add a lot more content to the game.
While Overwatch allows for multiple players to play in a squad, it became evident after a while that each game could be won by using a specific selection of heroes. For many casual and professional Overwatch players, the current metagame has damaged the game. Developers have not issued a proper fix for his problem. The aforementioned role queue disaster made this even worse. The probable answer for this issue in Overwatch 2 appears to be reducing the squad size of each game from six to five players, which has brought up a new box of worms.
Overwatch’s most well-known players, particularly their loyal Twitch streamers and pro players, have been progressively abandoning the game in favor of Apex Legends. Apex Legends keeps things simple with numerous three-person groups. Weapon or gear choices do not restrict the characters. Although abilities and ultimates can help keep a squad ahead of the pack, survivability is not guaranteed regardless of the loadout you and your team have selected.
The most significant downside to playing Overwatch and its planned sequel is that they are both paid experiences, which will be difficult to sell in an age when gamers are spoiled for free-to-play options. A young gamer who receives a fresh new PlayStation or gaming PC does not need to pay a single game to have a pleasant time, especially with outstanding titles like Valorant, Team Fortress 2, and, of course, Apex Legends, all of which are available for free on all platforms. Apex Legends is a free-to-play experience, which allows it to reach a far broader audience.
The game’s use of a loot box system makes more sense as well, given that players don’t have to pay anything to use it. While Overwatch’s loot box system is one of the game’s most obvious flaws as a paid experience, it could have easily been remedied by making the game free-to-play.
How many people play Overwatch? A monthly average
According to Active Player, Overwatch has at least 5 million monthly average players in 2021, with a peak of 7.3 million. There was a peak of roughly 500,000-600,000 daily players during this time. The site states that this figure is an estimate, but it is still a staggering sum for a game that is already more than five years old.
Here are some more notable game totals for active players in November 2021 for context. According to Active Player, Overwatch reached a peak of 6.7 million active players this month.
Valorant: 13 million
Apex Legends: 122 million
Fortnite: 277 million
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 8.5 million
So… Is Overwatch Dead?
Is Overwatch dead? Perhaps not, but it is on its way out. If Overwatch 2 fails to impress, the franchise as a whole may fade into obscurity, eventually becoming a niche game that everyone knows but no one plays religiously. Not to mention the animations they produced were far ahead of what anyone could expect from a gaming studio. Over the last two years, both the game and the Overwatch League have seen their fair share of challenges. Looking ahead, though, each has an exciting opportunity to flourish. This promise is manifested in Overwatch 2, the game’s long-awaited sequel, which was announced at Blizzcon in 2019.
Developers have delayed Overwatch 2 several times owing to some issues. Blizzard expects to release it around 2022 or 2023. When this happens, the game should see a big increase inactive players, as well as a boost in viewership, especially given some of the revealed interesting reworks. Even though there are still many obstacles to overcome before reaching that point, fans of the franchise can be optimistic.