Olivia R. September 20, 2019
Despite players wanting to know more, Blizzard has yet to release the stats behind the number of people still playing Overwatch.
The most recent figure was "over 40 million monthly players," which was solely based on the number of copies sold. This number didn't satisfy curious Overwatch fans, who pointed out that this statement doesn't take many factors into account.
Many Overwatch followers and critics alike often say the game is dying, and some have wanted to put this idea to the test.
Overwatch's disappointing events
Despite the competitive first-person shooter offering free content, many of its players feel it's not enough to satisfy the majority of players.
"We literally waited a year for 20 minutes of content," one Twitter user ranted in response to Overwatch's hyped up Storm Rising event.
Many players echoed this sentiment in April, with one fan pointing out their personal gripes with the event on Reddit. There, they listed a few reasons why the Storm Rising event was a letdown. This included how short and easy the game mode felt, and how the lore revealed in the event didn't really enlighten most fans much at all despite that being the main focus of Archives.
"We don't even know why these heroes were the ones chosen. Why was Genji even there when he's a member of Blackwatch? If he was there as himself, why not add McCree? What happened to Reinhardt?" they asked.
The original poster also felt that the tagline "chase the truth" was absurd, since the players didn't actually find out anything new about the heroes or their backstory.
"My biggest disappointment is that Blizzard has been just recycling old events all year since literally last Archives event and then they give us this.... I don't know, I just feel like they're not really shooting for the stars anymore," said another player.
This trend of disappointment continued when Overwatch released the Summer Games. Many of the Olympic and sports-themed skins were recycled from the last event, and Lucio Ball was the only additional gameplay mode once again. It seemed as though the only change was a few new mechanics in the arcade mode, but not much else had been added.
Some players came to Overwatch's aid, defending the game because of the added Torbjorn skin and the fact that it's still free content. But for many, that doesn't seem to be enough to keep them excited or active.
Considering the Overwatch player count in 2019
So have fewer people actually been playing the game since all of the seemingly disappointing events?
While Blizzard still refused to reveal any exact numbers, the game developer did reveal some details in a November conference call last year. They stated that they seeing flat or declining numbers for some of their key games, including Overwatch. But they noted it wasn't enough of a decline to be concerning.
Since Blizzard hasn't let anyone in on the sales, players have used a few different metrics to indicate the game's possible decline.
First, the game is three years old. It's not uncommon for most games to lose some steam as the months and years pass by. This was highlighted on Twitch, where the game boasted only 19,000 viewers in January. Thanks to the Overwatch League and other variables, Overwatch is back up to an average of 34,000 viewers in the past 30 days. This still puts the game as only the ninth-most watched game on Twitch for that time period, moving down two ranks.
Some fans are quick to point out that the amount of time people spend watching Overwatch doesn't indicate the amount of people still playing it themselves.
It's also true that Blizzard goes to great lengths to incentivize higher viewer counts on during Overwatch League broadcasts, most notably offering in-game currency to persistent viewers. Even just leaving the stream on in the background is enough to benefit from this effect.
While it still remains unclear how many Overwatch players are actually out there, it seems that there has been a slight decline recently, but not yet enough to back up some people's claims that the game is "dying."