Overwatch 2 isn’t even out yet and it’s already lost 99 percent of its hype. Fans were eager to watch their favorite Overwatch streamers and earn Twitch Drops to get access to the hero shooter’s long-awaited beta themselves. Unfortunately, many of them were disappointed in the result. Memes of Overwatch 2 actually being “Overwatch 1.5” or an unnecessary sequel that could’ve just been a patch flooded social media. Since then, fans have been hoping for a miraculously impressive PvE mode to balance the disappointment.
It also raises the question: Where did everyone go?
As per Forbes, 99 percent of the viewership recorded in the first week has since disappeared. Support from Twitch Drops and streamers such as xQc and Overwatch pros helped the game reach peak numbers last week. According to Twitch stats, the game reached a nearly 1.5 million concurrent viewership peak on Wednesday, April 27. Overwatch viewership has since flatlined to its usual 10-20k viewers at any given time. At this time of writing, it’s actually at 29.9k viewers, but still. Nowhere close to over 1 million.
Twitch Drops, which allowed users to earn beta keys by watching specific streamers, seemed to be the main reason for the spike. Drops started on Wednesday, April 27 at 10:00 a.m. PT and stopped at 6:00 p.m. PT. When the drops ended, the viewers dropped off. Twitch data shows a deep plummet into Thursday after the campaign. It’s possible that if the drops lasted longer, the viewership would’ve stayed inflated for a longer time.
Overwatch 2 testers debated how “worth it” the sequel was. Some like Overwatch League caster Reinforce viewed it as a notable difference because of the hero reworks and shift to 5v5, but many others were disappointed that it looked basically like the same game. Videogamedunkey, known for his honest and humorous video game takes, bashed the beta as more of an “Overwatch 1.1,” not even worthy of the “Overwatch 1.5” joke that other beta testers were throwing around. He was apparently one of the few content creators optimistic about the sequel, too.
“The public perception of OW is in the mud,” one fan wrote on Reddit. “Go anywhere other than an OW-oriented community on Reddit or Twitter and you'll see nothing but hate or confusion about what OW2 really is.”
Others in the thread proceeded to agree that perhaps the marketing missed the mark. One commenter summarized that the additions in Overwatch 2 reasonably qualify as a sequel, but it’s difficult to succinctly find all the answers to the questions potential buyers are looking for.
When the Overwatch viewership skyrocketed last week, I speculated that it might not last if it was dependent on streamer support and beta keys. It’s difficult to imagine that fans will pay up for a full $60 (or whatever it is) sequel if it’s what the internet calls “basically the same game.” Blizzard has said that those who have Overwatch will still be able to play with new heroes and maps. Most of what Overwatch 2 is offering is completely new content like PvE.
It’ll be interesting to see how the company moves forward with the shaky viewership and interest in Overwatch 2, considering how it already seemed deadset on using it to replace Overwatch. The Overwatch League (OWL) will compete using Overwatch 2 (even though it’s still in beta) starting today. Notably, the OWL is also offering Twitch Drops for viewers who tune into the streams.
“On Opening Weekend, we're distributing 1,500 Overwatch 2 PvP beta codes during the Overwatch League broadcast, beginning at 12 p.m. PT each day,” the OWL Rewards Guide reads. This Twitch Drop program will only last for the duration of the opening weekend between May 5 and 8.
Overwatch 2 is currently in development for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. The PC beta just went live last week. Alternatively, you can stick to Overwatch, which is on the same platforms as its sequel.