Is Overwatch Dead in 2023?

Overwatch is dead” is a phrase often uttered by long term fans and haters of the game alike. But does it hold any weight? Let’s take a closer look, scrutinising arguments commonly used for and against the statement.

Dead: Few Changes in 2 Years

The last major update to Overwatch was arguably the release of Echo. And, brace yourself, that was back in April 2020. While the game initially released a new hero roughly every four months, it’s now been over 20. Leaving players to explore the same team compositions and skill sets for nearly two years.

While Overwatch is a dynamic enough game to still enjoy at this point, getting the release of a new hero was once the beating heart of the ecosystem.

Alive: Player Counts

Approaching 2022, player counts are actually notably higher than two years prior.

December of 2021 saw an average of 6.8 million players enjoy the game, while December of 2020 hosted an average of only 4.9 million.

While these numbers may not be as high as games like Fortnite, they are still incredibly strong considering the game’s age and lack of notable updates of late.

And from a technical standpoint, a game will never be dead until its player base falls to only a handful. So, in this way, Overwatch is still very much alive.

Dead: Blizzard’s Bad PR

Even if you stay away from the news, chances are you know that Blizzard has been in hot water of late. Heck, they even had to change the name of McCree to Cassidy because of it.

This poor PR was a result of rampant allegations of long-running sexism and misconduct within the team at Activision Blizzard. A topic which any company needs to take seriously.

As a result Activision Blizzard saw themselves in court, witnessed their stock prices tumble and had to hand out a bunch of firings. The worst of which perhaps being community favourite Jeff Caplan, the game’s director, choosing to leaving Blizzard entirely. Ouch.

Alive: Overwatch League

Overwatch League was once the beating heart of the esports scene. Released to fanfare, thanks to the huge amount of resources put into the official events, Overwatch League solidified its place within the esports and Overwatch community. A place which it has stayed for years, despite many problems with over-optimised team comps.

While the overall hype surrounding the league has undoubtedly plateaued in recent years, it is an event which is still going strong and thanks to the game’s widespread appeal, it is an event which has introduced many to the esports scene. Meaning it is staying near and dear to the hearts of many.

Dead: Uncertainty About Overwatch 2

Announced at BlizzCon in 2019, Overwatch 2 felt like it was going to be something big. Three years on and only a trickle of information, fans are getting sick and tired of waiting. Not only because they have been waiting a long time, but also because the promises of Overwatch 2 have shifted over the years. With the game now more-or-less consisting of re-skinning the original game, adding a PvE game mode—which many players express they do not want—and releasing a handful of new maps and heroes.

Not to mention that many collaborations the company has had regarding Overwatch 2, most notably with LEGO, have been delayed or cancelled due to the allegations facing the company.

And with all new heroes, maps and updates being held back until Overwatch 2 [which still doesn’t have a release date!], it’s fair to see why many long-term fans have kicked the bucket.

Alive: Long-Term Fan Base

From its perfect character design and animation to Overwatch League, the game has garnered a fan base any game studio would be envious of. This is primarily because Overwatch mastered the art of attracting both casual and hardcore players. One only needs to look around at how many Overwatch clones there are on the market today to see how much influence and love the game has received over the years.

This long-term and dedicated fan base is still one that gets excited by new game modes, amazing skins and updates. So chances are that even those who have left the game for now, will come back when Overwatch 2 finally gets released.

Dead: Dwindling Twitch Viewership

Overwatch used to be a huge game on twitch. At its peak it was pulling in nearly 50,000 concurrent viewers. But that was back in July of 2019 when Overwatch League was big. Today the game is barely keeping above 10,000. Meaning that both viewers and streamers are losing interest in the game.

In a word, no, Overwatch is not dead. At least not yet. With a strong player count, long-term fans and undeniable influence the game is still incredibly popular in the grand scheme of things. But if we look at where it once was, Overwatch has certainly lost much of its vibrance and draw.

If you’re on the fence about jumping back into the game, there’s no question that you should do it. The game is as fun as ever, with fans enjoying the game’s fun and thrills. But chances are that it won’t hook you like it once did. Especially due to a lack of meaningful updates.

If you’re ready to hop back in, be sure to head over to ElDorado to get a leg up with a new ranked ready OW account or even some boosting.

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Tiffany B. Guess Written by: