Overwatch is a team-based first-person shooter released by Blizzard Entertainment that has managed to become rather popular within no more than a short period of time. For proof, look no further than the fact that it has brought in more than a billion in revenues in the first year of its existence, which is in addition to the fact that it reached a total of 40 million players by May of 2018. Combined, it is no exaggeration to say that Overwatch has become massive, which in turn, raises the question of how it has managed to reach its current state.
How Did Overwatch Become So Popular?
First and foremost, there are those who will claim that whatever Blizzard Entertainment touches turns to gold. After all, it can claim no fewer than three franchises of note in addition to Overwatch, which would be Warcraft, Starcraft, and Diablo. Considering that each one of these franchises can be considered a star by the standards of most video game companies, it is no wonder that some people see Blizzard Entertainment in said light. However, it is important to note that said video game developer has had its failures as well, with examples ranging from Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans to Starcraft: Ghost. In fact, it is interesting to note that Overwatch came into existence because of a failed project code named Titan, which was supposed to be a new MMORPG but winded up being cancelled in 2014.
Instead, there are a number of factors behind the success of Overwatch, which can make for a rather complicated picture. First, Overwatch is accessible in a way that most games are not. This can be seen in how it can be found on a wide range of platforms, which means more potential players than otherwise possible. However, this can be seen in the fact that it is simple to pick up for interested individuals as well. Second, Overwatch has a setting that manages to stand out from a lot of other team-based first-person shooters out there, which is important because differentiation is how products save themselves from being mistaken for their competitors.
This element is further enhanced by Overwatch's brighter, more cheerful-looking style, which further distinguished it from war games and futuristic war games. Third, Overwatch has a big cast with a lot of variation between the characters, which is important because it makes it much easier for different people to connect with at least someone in the cast. Combined with the fact that even a single character can have a big impact on the outcome of matches, this makes it very natural for interested individuals to latch onto their favorites, thus establishing the emotional connection that is so critical for player loyalty in the long run.
On top of this, it should be mentioned that Overwatch had a really, really big marketing budget that was put to use in a clever way, which is always important when it comes to selling something. Suffice to say that animated shorts are an effective and efficient method for getting the general gist of the game across to the viewers, but there aren't a lot of video game developers that can match Blizzard Entertainment when it comes to the expertise, the experience, and the money needed to make the best use of said tool. Never mind the rest of the material that has been churned out in the time since Overwatch's initial release.
Summed up, Blizzard Entertainment managed to turn Overwatch into a huge success because it had a simple-to-learn but difficult-to-master game that could stand out from its competitors while also offering an emotional connection to its narrative elements for people who find that sort of thing important. On top of this, Blizzard Entertainment had a massive war chest for its marketing efforts, which provided its title with that much-needed initial push. Certainly, the release of Overwatch hasn't been without its complications, with an excellent example being the criticism that was aimed at Blizzard Entertainment for the direction it was going with some of its characters. However, none of the issues that have come up so far have managed to bring it down, so it will be interesting to see how Overwatch fares in the time to come. There are already anecdotal reports of falling player numbers because of course there are, but it will take some time to see whether those are actually reflective of deeper trends or not.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker