When Blizzard Entertainment were gearing up to the May 24 release of their first new IP attempt in years, critics were quick to say that while the game would surely show great results initially, its popularity wouldn’t be very long-lasting. A recent announcement by Blizzard Entertainment shows that that might not necessarily be the case at all.
By August 2016, more than 15 million players were proud owners of a copy of Overwatch across Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. By October, the number jumped to 20 million unique Overwatch accounts. The developers have announced recently, there they have sold more than 25 million copies of Overwatch. Yes, 25. Million. 59.99 apiece, that’s more than $1.499 BILLION USD. Let that sink in for a second. Almost $1.5b USD for a game.
With the obvious success of Overwatch, let’s see what the underlying reasons for its success might be.
First of all, the game is extremely fun. The heroes are all different from each other, promoting varied playstyles. Any player can find a hero which does something he likes. You don’t even have to have great aim, making Overwatch more noob-friendly than some other FPS games, like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Can’t hit the side of a barn with a gun? Well, what do you want to do? Tank? DPS? Support? Winston, Reinhardt, Bastion, Reaper, Junkrat, Lucio, Mercy, Symmetra, you’re almost sure to find some champion you like.
Also, the developers of the game are doing a great job communicating with the community, taking their thoughts into account, yet not allowing themselves to get rolled over. With a quickly growing track record of smart decisions, Blizzard is building a lot of good faith to survive the inevitable major fuckups that are surely coming. So far, Blizzard actually avoided any major community outrage, which is a feat by itself.
Also, even though it’s not happening as quickly as it could, Blizzard is introducing new champions, maps and skins from seasonal events. Ana and Sombra have been introduced since the game’s release, Eichenwalde and Oasis are now live to make playing more interesting when the old maps get stale.
Another thing Blizzard is doing right so far is the Competitive side of things. While Ranked wasn’t without its hiccups in the beginning, The guys from Blizzard are constantly making changes, smart changes which are mostly met with the community’s approval, which is not very easy, as Riot Games could easily tell you.
Finally, Blizzard Entertainment are doing a great job in building the eSports scene. Even if people doubted whether Blizzard would invest sufficiently before the game’s release, all doubts are now alleviated. Blizzard is going all out to try and make Overwatch one of the world’s premiere eSports with their Overwatch League. Hopefully, the execution of the whole venture will make good on the ambition showed in Blizzard’s plans.