Overwatch – Ready to launch a sequel by next year?Published March 6, 2021
While the number of players and streamers has slightly decreased over the last few years, with a sequel in development slated to be released in late 2022 (or perhaps early 2023) Overwatch fans still have much more to look forward to.
Overwatch has entered its fifth year since being released in the fall of 2015, and everyone online from Reddit to Youtube to Twitch keeps saying the same thing: ‘Overwatch is dead’. In fact, we’ve been hearing it for years, as far back as at least 2018. So if it is or isn’t dead, what’s the reasoning for either perspective?
Overwatch is still a popular game. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise, but it’s difficult to deny that because each of its characters is either Tanks, DPS, or Support, and everybody only wants to play DPS, that creates frustrating gameplay issues. On the one hand, playing as a DPS is often much more rewarding because it’s earlier to be ‘Player of the Game’, but also because players that have experience with other FPS games like Halo or CoD but are new to Overwatch are more likely to pick DPS characters because they are much more familiar in terms of strategy (shoot, take cover, run, take cover, shoot, run, etc). But the way Overwatch is set up, there can only be a strong team if there is a decent balance of all three character build types.
If you can’t get a good mix in your team you will lose every time. It’s especially frustrating for players because this gameplay mechanic means that by being placed on the “wrong” team by random can mean a practically guaranteed hopeless loss. It’s discouraging gamers to keep playing when the moment the game begins, you automatically know you’re going to lose regardless of your or your teammates skill level simply because the other team has a better balance of roles. Because of these frustrations, no small number of players (and streamers) have switched to Fortnite or Valorant.
That being said, a report released by Activision/Blizzard indicated that they still had 10 million monthly players. Which for a game that’s five years old, that’s actually not that bad. Not only that, but out of 500 games tracked by TwitchTracker, Overwatch is the 27th most-watched game on Twitch. Overwatch is still popular in esports with about one and a half million viewers tuning in to the 2020 Grand Finals. And just a few months ago there were 2.5K concurrent streams on Twitch, which is roughly the same number when the game came out, so it’s clearly still popular with streamers. So despite what the meme-lords say, Overwatch is actually very alive and well, it’s just kind of an old game. And that’s OK.
In any case, fans that are bored of the game (that have been erroneously claiming Overwatch was dead since 2016) won’t have to wait much longer for some refreshment. Announced at BlizzCon 2019, the much-speculated game Overwatch 2 should satisfy the pickiest and most impatient online posters.