Overwatch 2 Event Shows Activision Blizzard Doesn't Understand Its Fans

Overwatch 2's new "Support A Streamer" Twitch event has been problematic, and seems to indicate a disconnect between Activision Blizzard and its supporters - especially streamers. While the event is framed in a positive manner that suggests a mutually beneficial relationship between Activision Blizzard and Overwatch streamers, the campaign actually reveals the growing gap between Activision Blizzard and the Overwatch community. In order for Overwatch 2 to have a successful release, Activision Blizzard needs to repair its strained relationship with the Overwatch fanbase.

The "Support A Streamer" campaign was announced by Activision Blizzard on June 27, a day before Overwatch 2's latest beta release. In order to receive an exclusive legendary Brigitte skin, Twitch viewers need to gift three subscriptions to participating Overwatch streamers. The skin will carry over to Overwatch 2's announced free-to-play multiplayer release in October. The campaign is similar to the event that accompanied Overwatch 2's first beta, in which one of the only ways for players to gain access to Overwatch 2's beta was by watching Blizzard-approved Overwatch streamers for a total of four hours. This promotion led to a record-setting spike in viewership for Overwatch on Twitch. It appears that the "Support A Streamer" event is Activision Blizzard's attempt to spur a similar spike in viewership for Overwatch 2's second beta, but with a much worse response from fans.

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The attention Overwatch enjoyed on Twitch was spurred by Activision Blizzard offering free access to Overwatch 2's beta. Assuming that this success could be followed up by asking players to essentially pay for character skins feels iffy, especially given that some see Overwatch 2's beta as a cash-grab due to putting access behind a paywall. While the beta was popular upon release, some players thought the role changes in Overwatch 2 didn't work, and others felt it failed to fix the myriad of issues that led to the first game's declining popularity. Now that the novelty has worn off, many popular streamers don't have any desire to play the Overwatch 2 beta.

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Many Overwatch streamers see the "Support A Streamer" campaign as hypocritical. When asked about the campaign, top 500 Overwatch players Yourietje and Ganji__OW both expressed frustration that the campaign only encouraged fans to support Blizzard-approved streamers, including several that don't even regularly stream Overwatch. Policeofcake, who called the event "scummy," speculated that the campaign could also intend to familiarize players with the concept of paying money for character skins, given that Overwatch 2's first two seasons will contain monetized battle passes. While offering only a few streamers the opportunity to participate in the promotion could be a practical decision, in practice, the campaign has prioritized potential Overwatch players over existing ones.

While the "Support A Streamer" event first appears to be a benevolent endeavor, it's likely the campaign's true purpose is to inflate viewership numbers for Overwatch on Twitch. The backlash surrounding the event highlights the Overwatch community's frustration with the game's developers. Activision Blizzard's reputation has been declining for years, and the hypocrisy of its Overwatch 2 "Support A Streamer" event demonstrates that if Activision Blizzard wants to foster a loyal, dedicated fanbase, the studio needs to be more attentive to the community's feedback.

2022-07-07T12:02:46.000Z

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