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Overwatch 2 enters Steam as a review-bombed top seller

This reception probably can't be healed, or at least not right away.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

August 11, 2023

2 Min Read
Sojourn, Mercy, Genji, and Tracer in Blizzard's Overwatch 2.

A day after coming to Steam, Overwatch 2 is a top-seller on the platform...and has also been inundated with negative reviews. Presently over 52,000 of the latter, as a matter of fact.

Blizzard Entertainment's divisive hero shooter hit Valve's marketplace yesterday (August 10), and at time of writing, is seven on Steam's list of top-selling games right now. Rankings are determined by revenue, so for a free-to-play title like this, sales of in-game battle passes and microtransactions are driving its place on the list. 

Above it is Valve's very own Steam Deck, free-to-play games like Apex Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and the smash hit Baldur's Gate 3

SteamDB reveals that Overwatch 2's highest concurrent player peak thus far is over 75,600. At time of writing, a little over half of that number (nearly 38,000) is playing the game. 

But even with that high ranking, Steam's review score for Overwatch 2 is "overwhelmingly negative." That many reviews have a low play time of less than an hour indicates that the game is being intentionally hit with negative reviews en masse, also known as "review bombing." 

Games getting review bombed is definitely nothing new, especially in recent years. But Overwatch 2's Steam debut is nothing if not complicated, given all the free-to-play title has been through since its October 2022 launch.

What the Steam launch of Overwatch 2 means going forward

Overwatch 2 is part of Activision Blizzard's plan to let its many online games thrive outside of Battle.net. As the first title straight from Blizzard to hit Steam, its conflicting reception paints a picture of how future releases may be regarded in the eyes of Valve's community. 

Granted, the circumstances around Overwatch 2 hitting Steam were never going to be in the game's favor. Throughout the summer, signs began to show the sequel was struggling to resonate with players after Blizzard revealed its PvE mode was being scaled back for reworked Story Missions.

In a recent interview with Game Developer, director Aaron Keller admitted that Blizzard didn't fully realize it was making a game for itself more than its players. He acknowledged that "players of Overwatch [then and now] are people who like playing a hero-based, team-based competitive shooter." 

Keller continued by saying it was "more important to make something our players wanted and needed," and that it would be Blizzard's MO going forward. But that shift is going to take some time to fully make itself known to players across all platforms. 

Overwatch 2's sixth season recently started, and its co-op Invasion mode is intended as a Story Mission alternative. However, it's also $15 for permanent access to the three-mission mode, and as player reviews may indicate, that decision hasn't gone over well. 

Activision Blizzard acknowledged that the game has been struggling and hemorrhaging players during its quarterly earnings back in July. Steam may help Overwatch 2 not become a boondoggle, but it also has to get out of its own way for long enough if it wants to turn things around.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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