Blizzard Entertainment

Monetization Issues: Overwatch 2

Jordan Bailey

Blizzard, the game company behind Overwatch 2, has been widely criticized for its new monetization system. Overwatch 2 is a free to play game and requires a monetization system to produce profit. With the game’s inflated prices on cosmetics and inability to earn the game’s currency through play (Overwatch coins); many people have boycotted spending money on in-game cosmetics.

What is Overwatch?

Overwatch 2 Hero Gallery

Overwatch 2 is a first-person shooter (FPS), developed by Blizzard Entertainment. There are three set character roles: Damage, Support, and Tank. Damage heroes seek out, engage, and obliterate the enemy with wide-ranging tools, abilities, and play styles. Fearsome but fragile, these heroes require backup to survive. Support heroes empower their allies by healing, shielding, boosting damage, and disabling foes. As a support, you are the backbone of your team’s survival. Tank heroes soak up damage and shatter fortified positions, like closely grouped enemies and narrow chokepoints. If you are a tank, you lead the charge.

The gameplay consists of five game modes:

How the System Works

The original Overwatch used loot boxes as a source of income, which players could either buy or earn through playing. Overwatch 2 switched to battle passes where you steadily gain cosmetics by leveling up. The battle pass does cost money; however, some cosmetics are free in the battle pass. Buying the battle pass was also used as an incentive to be able to play their new character, called Kiriko.

There is also an in-game shop where you can directly buy cosmetics. You can get Overwatch Coins, the game’s real-money currency, by doing weekly challenges. Doing all 11 challenges every week will get you a total of 60 Overwatch Coins. That is the equivalent of $0.60. Yes, 60 US cents. The battle pass is $10, and many skins are $20. It has become extremely difficult to buy anything for free by just playing the game.

The bundles, where you can get assorted items with one purchase, becomes a problem when these items are not individually sold. If you wanted one item from the bundle, you would be forced to buy everything else in the bundle as well. Blizzard has since announced that items in a bundle will be able to be bought separately due to fan outcry; however, this change has not been implemented yet. 

The inflated prices of the in-game cosmetics are noticeable, skins that were previously available to be bought for free in Overwatch 1 with Overwatch coins are now selling for $20.

A controversial example of inflated prices is the in-game item called the Pachimari Charm, which costs more money than its real-life counterpart on Blizzard’s gear shop website. The real-life charm is $5 and the charm in Overwatch 2 is 700 overwatch coins, which is equivalent to $7.

Pachimari charm

How Other Free-To-Play Game’s systems can help Blizzard fix Overwatch 2’s Monetization System?

Overwatch 2’s monetization system has features similar to other games such as Fortnite and Apex Legends. Blizzard could implement features of other free-to play games with profit-inducing monetization systems with their own additions to make it work with Overwatch 2. For example, Blizzard could implement a feature of Apex Legends, which allows easy access to free currency by just leveling up, the currency, ‘crafting materials’ can be used to buy cosmetics. Another example is Fortnite’s challenge system and battle pass, which allows players to attempt challenges and level up through the battle pass.

Conclusion: How can Blizzard fix the Overwatch 2 Monetization System

How to Fix the Battle Pass

The battle pass’s level progression is extremely slow, if you do not have the battle pass bought then there is almost no reason to progress as you get the occasional free cosmetic; playing to level up has no merit to it as there is no end goal to get to. The leveling-up system needs to be changed to fix the battle pass; there should be more free cosmetics and more of a reason to play the game if there are rewards that players would want to play for. Fortnite’s challenge system and battle pass elements could be implemented in which players attempt challenges and level up through the battle pass.

How to Fix the Cosmetic Costs

The free currency you gain each week by doing challenges is not enough; for a measly 60 cents a week, there is no practical way to buy any cosmetics for free by just playing. Blizzard could implement a feature of Apex Legends, which allows easy access to free currency by just leveling up, the currency, ‘crafting materials’ can be used to buy cosmetics. The value of Overwatch coins and ‘’Crafting Materials is 60 cents, however in Apex Legends leveling up is a lot faster, and so you can buy many cosmetics for free, there is also ‘’Crafting materials’ in the game’s battle pass. In Overwatch 2 it would take 5 years of playing to earn the free currency to buy just one legendary skin. Overwatch coins need to be worth more or there must be more ways to earn Overwatch coins. There is no real progression, except for the battle pass. To fix the cosmetic costs they need to be decreased to a point where it is fair to players and profit-inducing for Blizzard. More players would buy cosmetics if they were cheaper.

It is recommended to not buy any cosmetics or the battle pass, if you agree that the monetization system needs to be changed. If enough players choose not to spend money on the game, Blizzard will be forced to make a change to the system to encourage players to spend money. If you want to support Overwatch 2, you need to not support it.