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From 1,500,000 to less than 10,000 - why has Overwatch 2 PvP beta's viewer count reduced so radically?

Overwatch 2's viewership has gone down significantly (Image via Blizzard)
Overwatch 2's viewership has gone down significantly (Image via Blizzard)

There has been a lot of speculation over Overwatch 2 becoming a reality. Despite a few announcements nearly five years ago, the PvP testing only started in late April. The launch came with significant fanfare as the game quickly became one of the most-watched streams on Twitch. Fast forward a week, the euphoria seems to have seriously died down. While it might not worry Blizzard too much right now, such a sudden decline in numbers has certain possible reasons that should be noted.

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Overwatch 2 is the hit game's sequel that completely changed the scene for hero-shooters. The larger reason why fans have been asking for a sequel for so long has to do with the success of the first game. On its face, some changes separate the two releases, with the recent title switching to a new 5v5. This is a major shift from the previous 6v6, which Blizzard hopes will make games faster. However, this change might be one of the many that have reduced the number of viewers.


Overwatch 2 needs to do a lot more to convince its audience

A sequel will always have a direct link with its predecessor, but the problem with Overwatch 2 is its overreliance on similarities. While a radical change could not have been expected, fans can't be blamed for asking for more.

Much of the PvP beta has felt like an extension of the first game. Yes, new heroes like Sojourn have arrived on Overwatch 2. There are also changes to the map and existing heroes. However, many within the community have asked similar questions about how far from the original game is Overwatch 2, and if there are sufficient factors to help create its own identity.

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Once someone looks deeper beyond the new hero and map rework, it simply looks like an enhanced skin of Overwatch. The change in team composition does little to create any significant difference.

Another major issue is the limited nature of the beta client. The beta test so far has been very limited game-wise. The PvE elements aren't part of it and so aren't all the heroes or different game modes. As a result, the chances for viewers to get bored also increases drastically.

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Coming to the changes, the major one is the change in team composition. Not only has team strength been lowered down to 5, but was it required? Teams can now keep only one tank and this, in itself, is questionable. Quicker matches might not suit many players, especially if the average TTK of the game reduces. After all, everyone loves to kill in-game, but nobody appreciates getting killed.

While the steep decline in viewer count might surprise some, it's not unnatural. The limited nature of the beta client, combined with a lack of fresh ideas, might be the major cause. Additionally, the first few days of watching streams rewarded viewers with a beta access code. This could have led to new viewers who had missed out on a beta code earlier. However, the actual problems seem to be much more serious.

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While analyzing numbers might be immature right now, it doesn't bode well for Blizzard or Overwatch 2. Video games losing player and viewer counts is inevitable and natural, but the hero-shooter definitely wants to retain interest until the game is released.

The reduction in viewers just one week after the start of the first beta phase is not a good sign for those associated. It remains to be seen what kind of further changes Blizzard will make in the coming days and if it could positively affect the game's viewership.

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Edited by Atul S
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