Overwatch Sojourn / Blizzard

Is Overwatch dying heading into 2021? How many still play it?

A new year is here, meaning another milestone for Overwatch as the first-person hero shooter has survived another year despite many in the gaming community insisting that the Blizzard title is dying. 

So is Overwatch really dying? The short answer is no. At least, as far as we can tell from the numbers. 

How many people are playing Overwatch? 

Activision Blizzard revealed in a November 2020 report that they still had 10 million monthly players in Overwatch. That's not too bad considering the game was almost five years old by that point. One year after Overwatch came out, the game boasted 35 million players. It grew to 50 million the following year. Now, that number has fallen to around 10 million.

While such games as Valorant and Call of Duty: Warzone might have slowed Overwatch's momentum, the game is still far from dead with its 10 million active players still showing up each month. Though Overwatch is now sharing its players with these newer titles, Activision Blizzard doesn't seem too worried about the game's success. At least, not publicly.

How many people are watching Overwatch? 

Overwatch has had a similar pattern with their viewership on Twitch. The year Overwatch launched, TwitchCon 2016 announced it was Twitch's most popular game. As the novelty wore off, Overwatch was knocked down to the 30th spot with an average of 15,600 viewers by November 2020. 

TwitchTracker reported that Overwatch is the 27th most-watched game on Twitch out of the 500 they track thanks to its 2.63 million viewing hours. Overwatch has maintained some popularity on Twitch and beyond due to the Overwatch League, as many esports fans enjoy watching the pros compete in top-level matches throughout the year. About 1.55 million total viewers watched the 2020 Overwatch League Grand Finals. 

Popular content creators have also helped keep Overwatch popular on Twitch. In October 2020 there were 2,500 concurrent streams of Overwatch, the year's peak. This is a similar figure to when the game came out in 2016, showing that Overwatch remains popular with streamers.

When is Overwatch 2 coming out?

While Overwatch may not be as popular as it was back in 2016, fans are still enjoying the game's updates and seasonal events. But what might be keeping loyal fans from jumping to other titles after all these years is the promise of Overwatch 2 coming out soon

Fans are expecting the new title to come out at some point in 2021. It's rumored that Blizzard will announce the official Overwatch 2 release date in February. Overwatch 2 will bring new heroes and maps to the mix, as well as new game modes. Story missions will give casual players some entertainment while learning more about the backstory of the Overwatch universe, while esports fans can't wait to watch pros play the new competitive Push mode. 

Developers have already noted that there will be no loot boxes in Overwatch 2. The promise of new heroes, new cosmetics, and new game modes is enough to keep fans anxious for its release. 

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