In what is a confounding decision in a rapid series of confounding decisions over a confounding game, Blizzard’s newest policy regarding Overwatch 2 which requires every player to enter their phone number before they are allowed to play makes it so players who can’t afford a phone plan and use a pre-paid phone have been left in the dust.
- Overwatch 2 wouldn’t let players play using a pre-paid phone number.
- Blizzard has since updated the game to ease the phone requirements and restrictions after massive backlash from the player base.
This detail was spotted by numerous users on Reddit, with one of them saying “I’ve been using a Walmart prepaid plan for 5yrs and now I won’t be able to play OW2”. Another thread that got a huge amount of traction from users said:
I am ashamed of having a prepaid phone.”
The official post by Blizzard stated that all players across all platforms will be forced to give away their phone numbers in order to be able to play Overwatch 2. This also included players who had already been playing Overwatch 1 without giving away their personal information.
Of course, this has upset a lot of players. A fair number of them protested against the decision to ask players for their contact information. Blizzard has been fairly adamant about keeping these phone requirements for Overwatch 2, even if they are somewhat relieved now.
Never thought I would be disqualified from playing Overwatch based on my ability to afford a phone contract, but here we are…Blizzard is the first company to make me feel too poor to play a game.
Initially, Blizzard’s phone requirements were extremely strict and were actively punishing players who use a prepaid phone. A phone number could only be used once when making a new account, and certain types of numbers, including pre-paid and VOIP, cannot be used for SMS Protect.
After a huge outcry from a ton of players, it’s at least a relief to know that Blizzard has eased on these absurd phone requirements. Players that had been concerned about losing all their account progress solely because they owned a pre-paid phone will actually be able to play the game. Blizzard stated in a recent blog post today:
We designed Overwatch 2 to be a live service, which enables us to be responsive to a variety of player feedback. We have made the decision to remove phone number requirements for a majority of existing Overwatch players. Any Overwatch player with a connected Battle.net account, which includes all players who have played since June 9, 2021, will not have to provide a phone number to play. We are working to make this change and expect it to go live on Friday, October 7. We will update players once it is in effect.
We remain committed to combating disruptive behavior in Overwatch 2—accounts that were not connected to Battle.net as well as new accounts will still have to meet SMS Protect requirements, which helps to ensure we’re protecting our community against cheating. If a player is caught engaging in disruptive behavior, their account may be banned whether they have a new account or not.
Overwatch 2 was finally released to the general public yesterday on October 5. The game has received a mixed reception from critics and gamers alike for its controversial design decisions such as limiting new players to a significantly reduced roster of heroes and the addition of a premium battle pass.
In essence, the game only makes minor iterations to the original Overwatch which is partly why the game has also received praise as well. In the end, it’s still more Overwatch, and Overwatch has always been fun despite the missteps made in many of the game’s later updates.
eXputer’s own Haris Umer gave the game a 2.8 rating stating that “Although Overwatch 2 feels more like a glorified expansion than a proper sequel, it’s still the same old fast paced game that we all know and love.”
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