Overwatch players are generally unhappy with the state of Overwatch at the moment. Many even feel the game is doomed to be dead. But is the game really in trouble in 2022?
Overwatch has been in a difficult spot due to developers at Blizzard spending most of their time on the ever-delayed Overwatch 2. This sequel promises more game modes, more heroes, more maps, and more content in general. But many Overwatch players are skeptical that the revealed content thus far is enough to warrant an entirely new game and the sacrifices made to updates for the current edition of Overwatch.
The real issue is that Overwatch 2 has been delayed multiple times. While this is unfortunate news for fans who want to get their hands on the sequel, the real issue is that developers have all but abandoned Overwatch while working on Overwatch 2, meaning the game continues to get no new content or meaningful updates as time goes on and players continue to grow more restless.
With Overwatch getting very few balance updates and new content, it’s no surprise that the Overwatch community is skeptical about the game’s viability going into 2022. Statistics show, however, that Overwatch isn’t quite dead yet.
According to Active Player, Overwatch headed into 2022 with about 6.8 million average players in the last 30 days. This is actually a big jump from December 2020, which saw 4.9 million average players that month. At the start of 2021, the average player count was around 6.2 million. July of 2021 had 7.3 million average players, but the player count started to slowly decline from that point to where it is now.
While the average player count per month is a bit promising, it’s important to also look at Overwatch’s peak player count each day. Going into 2022, there were a little less than 618,000 peak players on average over the past 30 days. This shows that there are active players every day in the hundreds of thousands, meaning Overwatch is far from dead.
But that doesn’t mean Overwatch is in a great spot, either.
Overwatch is not a dead game, as much as the community likes to say on social media. But Overwatch is technically dying a slow death. The game had 35 million players one year after its release in 2016. In 2018, Overwatch had 50 million players, meaning it was growing. But the number has since dropped dramatically, even by Blizzard’s own numbers.
It’s natural for a game to have a decline in active players as it ages, but that doesn’t excuse the steep drop in players that Overwatch has seen. A lack of new content as well as little to no support for streamers has caused Overwatch to become drastically less popular.
While having around 6 million average players might sound fine, keep in mind that other popular games have far greater numbers of players. Fortnite, League of Legends, and Apex Legends are all examples of competitive online games with massive player counts that dwarf the numbers behind Overwatch.
Technically, yes. But the numbers don’t look good for Overwatch on Twitch.
According to Statistica, Overwatch is rapidly losing viewership on Twitch. That’s because there are fewer streamers dedicating their channels to Overwatch. Many pros players and full-time content creators have moved to other games, including Valorant and Apex Legends.
The other reason is that the Overwatch League was moved to YouTube, removing professional play from the platform. But the Overwatch League has been declining in viewership quickly as well, meaning its presence on Twitch wouldn’t improve the numbers too much.
At the end of November 2021, Overwatch averaged just 11,500 viewers. That’s much lower than Overwatch had at its last peak in 2019, which was still just over 47,000.
The truth is that many people still love Overwatch. Due to its rich lore, fun heroes, and dynamic gameplay, the game continues to be a popular competitive FPS title. Unfortunately, a lack of content, updates, and developer support has not allowed the game to remain as big as it once was.
Overwatch isn’t dead yet, but the game is slowly dying, meaning the number of players and viewers are declining every month. The game isn’t in big trouble right now, but it’s slowly fading away as Overwatch 2 continues to take up all of the developers’ attention at Blizzard.