After negative feedback, Blizzard is scrapped Overwatch 2a non-prepaid phone requirement for most gamers. The change will take effect on Friday, October 7th.
Inside forum postJodie, Blizzard community manager, wrote: “We’ve designed Overwatch 2 to be a live service that allows us to be responsive to a variety of player feedback. We’ve made the decision to remove phone number requirements for most current Overwatch players. Include any players who have played since June 9, 2021,” wrote Jodie, Blizzard community manager. Overwatch player with a linked Battle.net account will not need to provide a phone number to play. We are working to make this change and expect it to go live on Friday, October 7th: We will update players when they become effective.”
The SMS Protection system was designed to help prevent players from cheating and disruptive behavior and will continue to be available to those who create brand new accounts.
“Accounts that are not connected to Battle.net, as well as new accounts, will need to meet SMS Protection requirements, which helps us protect our community from cheating. If a player engages in offensive behavior, their account will be banned whether they open a new account or not,” it said.
The post ends by saying that the team will “make further adjustments in this area if needed”. The statement doesn’t confirm whether the previous block on prepaid phone numbers has been removed, and we’ve asked Blizzard for comment.
Overwatch 2s nature free to play should mean that it can be accessed by all players with a compatible device. However, a side effect of a new security measure from Blizzard is leaving some users out in the cold.
On Twitter, the user Saint Jack brought the community’s attention to Overwatch 2’s SMS Protection policy, which says all players must link a phone number to their battle.net account to launch Overwatch 2.
Doesn’t blizzard let people play overwatch 2 if they have a prepaid phone plan? pic.twitter.com/NkVOMuFGDJ
– Jack Saint (@lackingsaint) October 5, 2022
Blizzard made this news public last week, but players only started to notice on a larger scale after the game went live yesterday. by newsletter On Overwatch’s official website, the SMS Protect function is a solution to combat “both cheating and destructive behavior” in Overwatch 2. Part of the version says:
“Starting October 4, 2022, all players on all platforms, including consoles, must have a phone number added to their battle.net account to launch Overwatch 2. The same phone number cannot be used on multiple accounts at the same time, and players cannot create multiple accounts with the same phone number. A phone number can only be used once when creating a new account, and certain types of numbers, including prepaid and VOIP, cannot be used for SMS Protection.”
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The part that causes problems is the last sentence that says prepaid phone plans are not eligible for SMS Protection. Prepaid phone plans from companies like Cricket Wireless require users to pay the bill before receiving service. These plans also rarely require a contract, making them a more attractive option for people who can’t afford or don’t want to spend a lot of money on a contract phone plan from Verizon or T-Mobile. Unfortunately, these are the ones that Overwatch 2 currently excludes due to the SMS Protection requirement.
For example, in a post r/Overtrackingone user said that the need for this phone made them feel bad for having a prepaid phone plan, writing in part: “I’m really sorry and weirdly embarrassed for not being able to meet this ‘standard’. [to] We can afford a phone contract, but here we are… Blizzard is the first company that made me feel too poor to play.”
And it’s as if Overwatch fans with prepaid phone plans won’t even be able to return to the original game. Blizzard shuts down Overwatch servers to prepare for the sequel’s launch this week. Instead, players who started Overwatch will be prompted to update to Overwatch 2. Blizzard has made the decision to shut down Overwatch 1 to maintain a unified player base in the new game.
When IGN reached out for comment, Blizzard responded by saying, “We plan to address this soon, possibly this afternoon.” We’ll update this story once Blizzard addresses the lack of access for users with prepaid phone plans.
That’s not the only issue Overwatch 2 faced during its launch week, as online players are also complaining about long queues. Multiple posts on Twitter mention waiting lines with more than 20,000 people lined up before them.
This is not unusual for major online games during their release times. Final Fantasy XIV fans are undoubtedly familiar. Blizzard also told IGN that there will be a communication later today addressing server wait times.
Class to get into Overwatch. Waited about 30 minutes for it to go from 400 in the queue to zero. When I went to the front it said ‘Searching for server’. When he found one, I was 30,000 in the queue.
No Overwatch for me today 🙃
— Skill Up (@SkillUpYT) October 5, 2022
On top of all that, the big headlines yesterday, A pair of DDoS attacks suffered on Overwatch 2 launch day. So, if you jumped into Overwatch 2 shortly after launch, you most likely experienced game crashes or other connectivity issues while Blizzard tried to fix server issues and stability.
Beneath all these problems, Overwatch 2 has a good game inside. reviewWe called the sequel great and said, “Overwatch 2 breathes new life into what was once the sharpest multiplayer shooter, before the edges are seriously dulled by Blizzard’s attention being diverted.”
Logan Plant is a freelance writer covering video game and entertainment news for IGN. He has more than six years of experience in the gaming industry, appearing on IGN, Nintendo Wire, Switch Player Magazine, and Lifewire. Find him on Twitter @LoganJPlant.
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