Blizzard is hoping you’ll ‘buy’ Overwatch 2, despite a free-to-play launch

Overwatch 2 will launch today and Blizzard appears to be deliberately sowing confusion with regards to how players can get on board the newest edition of its iconic team shooter.

Whether on the various Discord servers I’m on, the Facebook groups I follow or on my Twitter timeline, one thing’s for sure: people don’t really know how to start playing Overwatch 2. What many definitely seem to not know is that Overwatch 2 is a free-to-play game. Yes, the free-to-play model was announced at the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase earlier this year, but it hasn’t been the most publicized aspect of the game in the months leading up to today’s launch.

Of course, avid devotees of the game are probably better informed than most on things like the switch over from Overwatch 1 to Overwatch 2, the new heroes, the game’s battle pass reward system and most importantly, the free-to-play bit. Blizzard appears to be content to leave that aspect out of marketing.

Overwatch 2 launch

But the worst instance of this obscuring is the fact that if you try to search for the game on online storefronts such as the Microsoft Store, you will get a “buy now” button that directs you to the Overwatch 2 Watchpoint Pack, a $40 purchase that gives you the paid version of the battle pass and a bunch of cosmetics.

Players won’t be ‘buying’ Overwatch 2, they’ll be paying for additional content. Which is fine if that’s what they’re looking for but otherwise they’ll find themselves duped into purchasing content they might not have wanted at all. The game hasn’t launched yet, but there’s no page for the game itself, just the Watchpoint Pack.

While it’s true that players should always be mindful of what they’re buying before making a transaction online, the onus should be on publishers and developers to not sow additional confusion to take advantage of unintended purchases. Preying on players’ expectations that the latest from Blizzard will be another full-sized purchase is not the noblest of online retail strategies.

Just to clear things up, players who already own the original Overwatch should have access to all the original heroes when they fire up Overwatch 2. Blizzard says that newcomers who start playing through Overwatch 2 will need to put in at least 100 matches to unlock the full roster. So, there is a difference between people who’ve already given Blizzard their money before.

But teal deer, you do not need to buy anything, least of all a $40 cosmetic pack, to be able to play Overwatch 2 on today’s launch, no matter how much Blizzard wants you to and the great lengths it is going to just to obscure that fact.