Overwatch 2 launch brings big hopes and woes for Activision Blizzard and OWL
Comment of the Day

October 08 2022

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Overwatch 2 launch brings big hopes and woes for Activision Blizzard and OWL

This article from the Sports Business Journal may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section: 

Overwatch 2’s launch suffered from a double whammy of troubles when the servers opened for business Tuesday: Massive player interest led to equally massive login queues and a cyberattack.

Blizzard Entertainment President Mike Ybarra tweeted that the company was dealing with a Denial of Service (DDoS) attack that was disrupting servers (these stopped after Tuesday’s launch). "Server issues” and “launch day” predictably go together in gaming, so plenty of players knew to expect disruptions and wait times.

Another issue plaguing Overwatch 2’s launch was the use of Blizzard’s SMS Protect feature, which requires a mobile phone number to prevent cheaters and stop hackers from taking over player accounts. But since Tuesday’s launch, those using prepaid cellular accounts can’t use those mobile numbers to play (it's part of the SMS Protect protocol). A Blizzard spokesperson said that the company is "actively engaging with some service providers to explore if we can expand the program to cover more users while still protecting our players and game security."

Late Wednesday, Blizzard said an update it plans to roll out Friday will change SMS Protect so that any player who has logged into Overwatch since June 2021 can play without a phone number requirement (anyone who hasn't played Overwatch since that time will need to use a phone number. It’s also rolling out updates to improve online stability and long login queues. Players have also been reporting missing items and other data, and Blizzard said half of these issues are because players didn’t merge their accounts. For the rest, Blizzard said no data has been wiped or lost and it is working to restore missing items.

Eoin Treacy's view

Activision Blizzard was in the process of collapsing before Microsoft made a bid for the company. The share is falling once more which suggests investors are wary of thinking the merger will get approval from the EU.

According to my eldest daughter, an avid gamer, Overwatch 2 is suffering from some significant issues.

The first is an hours’ long wait to get on the game because the server is incapable of handling the traffic. The second is the queues have been getting shorter because people get into a game and leave because the experience is so poor. The game lore (character narratives) has been eviscerated, all of the characters have been edited to have softer blander features and no one is sure what has changed to justify the new release.

The bigger issue is a major conflict for many tech companies. What do you do when your best most productive team, responsible for one of the company’s biggest earners, are infamous for sexual misconduct in the workplace? Activision had to fire those people but the new team has sanitised Overwatch to the point where it will quickly lose players. Microsoft (where fun goes to die) is unlikely to be able to inject the visceral creativity to revitalize the

Meanwhile, Nintendo’s Splatoon 3 is already developing into a fan favourite by delivering on everything a legacy player could want from the third game in a franchise.

Nintendo is firming within its range and from the region of the 200-day MA.

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