In a recent interview with Game Informer, Overwatch Vice President Jon Spector discussed the sustainable revenue model that Overwatch 2 will have as a free-to-play title. One such strategy is crazy brand collaborations between franchises such as the recent Fortnite x Dragon Ball Super or Call of Duty: Vanguard x Attack on Titan. When asked about the possibility of this coming to Overwatch 2 at some point, Spector had the following to say:
“We’ve seen some really fun examples out there of games working with other brands or other games. I’m a big anime nerd myself. I think it’s super cool when I see Naruto appear in Fortnite. I don’t even play Fortnite, but that’s awesome. And as we look at the Overwatch 2 space, those are things that we’re interested in exploring. If and when we do that, one of our key values is to do it in a way that feels like a great fit for the Overwatch franchise.“
“So we’ve been more focused on those collaborations as the stuff we might be interested in doing. And less on the ads-in-our-game type stuff.“
Spector goes on to say that the Overwatch 2 team wants to make sure they are in a position they can sustain their free-to-play model for years and to do that, they will need to keep things fresh and interesting for casual and hardcore players. Spector highlights the significance of making sure the game is rewarding for players of Overwatch 2, whether they choose to spend money or not. What that will amount to isn’t entirely clear just yet considering Overwatch 2 will feature a paid 80-tier battle pass similar to Fortnite’s in terms of unlockables and other rewards that will be earnable through experience growth after purchase.
Following the seasonal model that many other multiplayer and battle royale games have been using for years, Overwatch 2 will aim to deliver content updates every nine weeks or so. The first season of Overwatch 2 has received a trailer (which you can see for yourself above) that features an inside look at their “cyberpunk theme” and battle pass rewards which include new heroes like Sojourn, Junker Queen, and Kiriko, along with a variety of other premium rewards like unique cosmetic. The stand-out of which is easily Genji’s Cyber Demon mythic skin. Season 1 of Overwatch 2 will include a free event that runs from October 25th to November 8th but it is clear that all the best stuff will be behind a paid wall, as they usually are.
Overwatch 2 arrives as a free-to-play title on all major console platforms and PC this October 4th. A paid add-on called “The Watchpoint Pack” will include the Season 1 Premium Battle Pass along with 2000 Overwatch Coins, 12 Legendary and Epic Skins, and more. The official Overwatch Blog goes into great length to detail how this new seasonal model works with their content drop timetable and their paid cosmetics shop rotations.
All of this sounds decent enough but we can’t help but be concerned at the growing rate at which game companies are quickly abandoning their foundations and moving to free-to-play models which hide the best content and loot behind a paywall. Unfortunately, the reality of it is, it is a very lucrative business strategy and as long as gamers keep paying, companies will continue to see profit in our pockets. And while we have not seen Overwatch 2 in action just yet, we can’t help but feel like we may have another Halo Infinite on our hands when the game launches next month.