This widely criticized change hasn't negatively affected the company in the slightest.
Activision Blizzard announced their financial report from the final quarter of 2022 earlier today. The company had several milestones towards the end of last year, one of the most highly anticipated being the launch of Overwatch 2.
The long-awaited sequel to the original Overwatch came with a few changes that longtime players were not happy with. Aside from the five-vs-five model shift and new game mode, the shift from a one-time payment to a free-to-play structure was also not well-received.
Activision’s earnings report shows that from a monetary standpoint, however, the free-to-play structure actually was, and continues to be, greatly successful.
“The October launch of Overwatch 2 with a free-to-play model delivered the highest quarterly figures for player numbers and hours played in Overwatch history,” the report said.
The game is now free-to-play, but all of the cosmetic items like skins, sprays, and weapon charms cost real money. In the original game, these cosmetics could be earned through gameplay alone.
Though the public has repeatedly criticized the game’s new monetization model, even with incentives like more free rewards in the form of Twitch drops, things seem to be performing up to expectations at Blizzard.
“Player investment is off to a strong start, with fourth quarter in-game net bookings at the highest level to date for Overwatch,” the report said.
So even though the public doesn’t unanimously love the game’s new way of making revenue, players are still buying premium-level Battle Passes and featured cosmetics in the new shop.
Blizzard is making some changes for Overwatch 2’s third competitive season, including a whole slew of new cosmetic rewards that can be earned for free. These additional cosmetics and events seem to be bringing back some of the original game’s charm, where nearly every event skin was free but earned from completing challenges in the game.
But these changes don’t mean that Overwatch 2 will change back into what Overwatch once was. Activision Blizzard’s report shows that this new monetization method is working for the company, and that success will likely continue to drive development and design decisions.
One final takeaway for Overwatch 2 fans is that Blizzard insists that developers are still hard at work on the PvE content teased all the way back in 2019. The report also says that the game will be getting seasonal updates with a focus on engaging both veteran players and fans new to the Overwatch experience.