Will Overwatch Finally Be Free to Play?

by in Overwatch | Feb, 9th 2021

I want it to be known from the out that I don’t hate Overwatch at all. I used to play it all the time! But I have a serious gripe with any retail game that also has real-money lootboxes, and that’s where I stand. For years, I have said that if they would make Overwatch free to play, I’d shut up and play. Neither Overwatch 2 nor Diablo 4 will launch this year, but there is some good news. It leads us to ask, will Overwatch finally be free to play? It sounds like it’s a serious possibility.

If this does get announced, count on it being during BlizzCon, from Feb. 19-20. That would be the smartest time when the most eyes are on the company. 

Bring the Call of Duty Strategy to Overwatch

In a Blizzard conference call, it was revealed that they wish to bring the same strategy they do with Call of Duty that they do with Overwatch. What does this mean? There are buy-to-play Call of Duty games (Black Ops Cold War), but there’s also the free-to-play Call of Duty Warzone. That’s their exciting battle royale game and the Call of Duty Mobile, which is also free.

Is it unreasonable to ask if Overwatch will be free? Not at all. It’s incredibly easy to monetize the game. It’s already being monetized. There are lootboxes in the game that no doubt make Blizzard Scrooge McDuckian levels of money. There are always gorgeous skins that players can spend money to try and acquire. This also leads into Overwatch 2, which will no doubt also be buy-to-play like Overwatch. 

This would probably mean more styles of loot boxes in Overwatch and battle passes. Those are the easiest solutions. If Overwatch went free to play, it would undoubtedly bring tons of players to the game that were avoiding it because of the cost. It isn’t expensive, but there’s nothing worse than buying a game, playing it, hating it, and being unable to get that back. 

A game going free to play does, of course, bring some negatives. Free-to-play games are more plagued by cheaters, hackers, and people of their ilk. It is a small price to pay for a free-to-play game, it seems. We’ve seen it in Valorant and Warzone in particular. That means you need to make a solid anti-cheat software solution. 

Will Overwatch be free to play? I think so, and I hope so. There are so many ways to monetize the game. Blizzard has so many properties. Make crossover skins for the characters, limited-time events that take a little money, things like that are pretty popular. We’ve heard that Overwatch will have no new heroes, but they could walk this back and make passes to unlock characters like in most fighting games or make a one-cost charge to unlock future characters (SMITE/Paladins). We hope this is a change made because Overwatch needs something to put some hype back into it. The announcement of Overwatch 2 not being out this year means they need to do something.


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