Since it’s debut on May 24, 2016, Overwatch has been the darling of the gaming community for eschewing much of what gamers have come to expect from shooters. With everything seeming to work in its favor right now, can Overwatch maintain its forward momentum?
Considering whether Overwatch will continue to be successful moving forward, you have to consider the aspects that attract players to the game in the first place. Overwatch finds itself sitting in an interesting spot in the gaming community. It has brought together serious players and casual players in unheard of ways. Overwatch’s rich lore—something not ordinarily focused on in this genre—has attracted a large fanbase of players that diverge from the stereotype that comes to mind when discussing first person shooters. What other first-person shooter has accumulated massive numbers of cosplay and fan art from its players?
However, Overwatch presents enough of a challenge to keep serious players invested, especially with the introduction of competitive play on June 28, 2016. Even if your aim isn’t the best, in Overwatch, players can assume roles that require less finesse than someone who has the twitch reflexes of a god and be very good at these roles. While DPS players may secure most of the kills, they still need teammates who are willing to play roles such as the healer to keep them in the fight and the tank to act as their protector. It’s not typical that any one person carries a team to victory. In a genre where many first-person shooters share the same bleak aesthetics and individualistic gameplay mechanics, Overwatch has emerged as a vibrant alternative that rewards teamwork.
It seems that Overwatch will continue to be a popular choice for casual gamers thanks to its colorful, diverse case and it’s emphasis on teamwork and community. Serious players may find that Overwatch still lacks many of the tools that would make it a viable eSport, but Blizzard is a company known for dedicating considerable resources to their intellectual properties. Given enough time, the developers will find the formula that works for its more serious players while continuously adding elements their casual players enjoy. Will this translate into Overwatch being able to stay popular with players? Only time will tell, but in the meantime, I’ll keep playing.