Overwatch 2’s Declining Player Numbers Are ‘Nothing Concerning,’ Blizzard Says

In its latest earnings report, Activision Blizzard has acknowledged a decline in player engagement and investment in Overwatch 2 during the second quarter of 2023. However, executive producer Jared Neuss reassures that this is a normal fluctuation in player numbers and not a cause for concern.

Overwatch 2: Invasion Set to Reignite Player Interest

Overwatch 2: Invasion, the game’s sixth season, was launched on August 10 with high hopes of revitalizing the player base. The update features a new hero named Illari, a Flashpoint game mode, premium Invasion story missions, and a battle pass. While the publisher expects this massive seasonal update to boost player numbers, Neuss downplays the significance of this season, emphasizing that it’s part of the team’s experimentation in pacing their seasonal offerings.

There’s this interesting thing about how we stacked a bunch of content on Overwatch 2 Invasion. We did that because we were experimenting with different seasonal structures, and one of the things we really wanted to try was, what if we just put all this big stuff, these awesome additions, and different expressions of the game together?

That really isn’t like a, ‘oh there’s so much riding on this’ kind of a thing for us. For us it’s really about, what does a good season look like? We’ve tried a bunch of stuff, right? We tried a very thematic approach with Season 5. We’ve tried different things in Season 2 and 3.

It’s less about, ‘is there all this stuff riding on Overwatch 2: Invasion?’ and more about, ‘what do we think is the right rhythm and cadence, and how do we create these big moments for players?’

Neuss further affirms that the team views the fluctuation in player numbers as normal for a free-to-play game and is not concerned.

The declining stuff is basically, we are a free-to-play game and it is very easy to both come to the game and check it out, and to leave to check out other stuff,” Neuss said. “We see a normal ebb and flow of players. There’s nothing concerning to me or the team about any of that.

Unfortunately, the launch of Overwatch 2 on Steam did not receive a significantly positive response from players. It quickly garnered an “Overwhelmingly Negative” rating, with the lack of the promised PvE mode being the most common criticism. Additionally, players have expressed discontent with the cost of story missions and limited methods of unlocking heroes in the sequel.