Overwatch Ascends to a “Billion Dollar” Franchise!

Overwatch has garnered a lot of love and attention since long before it even released, with its marvellous mix of genius marketing, its wildly inclusive roster of colourful characters spanning the globe and being the product of one of the best game developers out there: Blizzard.

“On that day, I felt so Alive”
– Widowmaker

There are a few times when certain games gain popularity and critical acclaim far beyond what it seems they should earn for what they offer… And then there are times when a bit of news bubbles to the surface that just makes you want to applaud your fellow gamers for supporting something that so very much deserves supporting.

Such news has filtered to the surface recently regarding a game that some (me) perceive as the single best online game thus far this generation: Overwatch. The news has come through that Overwatch has ascended to the holy status of a “Billion Dollar Franchise”! The eighth title from Blizzard/Activision to make this immense number, it puts Overwatch on the list with the likes of the Call of Duty and Skylanders Series.

It has managed to do this in an incredible time-frame; this month sees the one year anniversary of its release! It has achieved this feat faster than *any* other Blizzard IP and continues to build on this monetary momentum with free weekends, events and new characters and maps. No doubt these are all contributing reasons as to why last month it hit thirty million registered players!

It comes as no surprise that when Blizzard entered the online first person shooter market, they created such a splash that the entire industry paid undivided attention to it (sorry Battleborn). Their business model for the game may divide some people on its ethics, but I for one am fully supportive of it! There are some that say that a full priced game with a heavy dose of micro-transactions for the aesthetic items is unethical, and the gambling nature of the Lootboxes is a speculative enterprise at best… And I find it hard to say that these people are wrong. That being said, these are for aesthetic extras, you do not need them (except for the Witch Skin for Mercy, that shit is mandatory!) See what I mean? Manda-damn-tory!

The visual changes are charged for, as are the voice lines, heroic entrances, spray paints and other things along those lines that are all unlocked through the Lootbox system. This system dolls out one free Lootbox per level, several free boxes for victories in the Arcade mode and, of course, are purchasable for real money. Why am I supportive of this system that charges for items despite the game being released as a full premium title? Because of what they offer for free! It is very often the case with online heavy games that when new premium content hits the marketplace, such as new maps or characters, it divides the game’s community into the haves and the have-nots. For a great many number of reasons, this is not desirable, thus I am fully supportive of Blizzard’s move to avoid this by ensureing that: ALL FUTURE MAPS AND CHARACTERS ARE FREE, FOREVER!.

If you’ll excuse the tautology, I completely understand those that state it is unacceptable that a full priced game can release with such a heavily embedded micro-transaction system. But there is no doubt that free maps and characters is a great thing, and its non-invasive system has contributed to it becoming Blizzard’s fastest Billion Dollar franchise.

“More lost than the Moon in Winter.”
– Ana Amari

With it’s One Year Anniversary at the end of the month, I am sure we can expect something to be pulled out of the hat to celebrate it. What a first year! I, for one, am looking forward to seeing where Blizzard take it in future! I’ll be there every step along the way!