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Is Overwatch 2 dying after its Steam release flopped?

Overwatch 2 scared faces

Popular hero shooter Overwatch 2 has launched on Steam and its low player count has led to fans wondering if the game might be dying.

Blizzard’s iconic FPS is seeing an overwhelmingly negative response from gamers on Steam. It launched on Valve’s DRM as Blizzard wrestled with a string of controversies and the seemingly imminent death of Overwatch League. While this was likely viewed as a wise business maneuver, fans are taking the opportunity to vent their frustration with the company.

Steam users can freely leave a review for any game they have in their library. There have been several controversial moves by Blizzard over the last few years, both in and out of Overwatch 2. The company’s mass layoffs and shutdown of Overwatch League was not a welcome move among fans, nor was the abrupt decision to cancel the development of PvE modes in Overwatch 2. Alongside this has been a rapid souring of relations between Diablo 4 players and the company, stemming from huge nerfs to almost all player characters and banning those who try and get around this.

Overwatch 2’s launch is off to a rocky start as tens of thousands of gamers leave negative reviews. As of this writing, just 10% of 53,800 reviews are positive. The game currently stands at an “Overwhelmingly Negative” rating with more reviews pouring in by the minute. Review bombing isn’t the only issue facing Blizzard when it comes to Overwatch 2 on Steam, though. Fans are wondering aloud whether Overwatch 2 is dying.

Is Overwatch 2 really that bad?

Overwatch 2 enjoyed solid average scores on review aggregators before being review bombed by fans.

Average media scores for Overwatch 2 tend to be between 70% and 80%. Average fan scores are considerably lower, with a 10% positive rating on Steam being the worst.

Overwatch 2 launched to generally positive reactions in 2022. The game was praised for its technical performance and strong multiplayer offering. It received criticism for adding little more than what was available in Overwatch 1 and for locking new characters behind paywalls. Opinions on the game turned from mixed to overwhelmingly negative after Blizzard scrapped the development of PvE modes, which some fans paid for in advance.

A game getting an artificially large number of negative reviews is nothing new on Steam, or any platform that crowd-sources reactions. As a free-to-play game, there are effectively no restrictions on who can review Overwatch 2 or what they can say. Steam reviews can have just one word, a page full of details, or anything in between.

Steam users have called the game “terrible” and left Team Fortress 2 store page links in their reviews. Many state that the now-dead Overwatch 1 was superior to its sequel. Other reviews thrash the first batch of DLC story missions that cost $15. 

Overwatch 2 tracer

Is Overwatch 2 dying? Apex Legends likely has the answer

Overwatch 2’s player count on Steam is low, but it likely isn’t dying any time soon.

On its first day on Steam, the game’s player count peaked at 75,000 players and averaged about 46,000. Those numbers are dwarfed by Valve’s Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Even “old-fashioned” multiplayer games like PUBG: Battlegrounds and Team Fortress 2 have considerably higher numbers.

That said, parallels can be drawn between Overwatch 2 and Apex Legends. Both are online multiplayer games that launched on other services before landing on Steam.

apex legends splash art

Apex Legends had comparable numbers to Overwatch 2 at launch and slowly grew to become one of Steam’s most-played games. That transition took a while and there were hiccups along the way, including its own review bombing campaigns. Apex Legends’ Steam player count has peaked as high as 624,473 in February 2023, which doesn’t count players on EA Games’ DRM Origin or any consoles. 

Will Overwatch 2 be able to recover from its rough launch? Only time will tell. The game recently launched a new hero Illari along with Season 6. New paid story content is available for purchase, which is already on the Steam Top selling list.

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Written by Bilawal Bashir

Bilawal is a software engineer who loves video games, comic books, and anime. But he will never love pineapple on pizza.

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