Overwatch has been causing a serious stir since it was first announced – and that stirring will only be stronger after the incredible success of Blizzard’s open beta.
It was announced today that over 9.7 million players had a taste of the game during its extended open beta weekend. Gamers racked up a whopping 81 billion hours across 37 million matches. With those sorts of figures, we can fully expect a flawless game with absolutely no problems – just like every other game that’s had a beta, right?
Speaking about Overwatch’s impressive success, Blizzard’s CEO and co-founder, Mike Morhaime said:
We’re thrilled that such an incredible number of players from around the globe got a chance to check out Overwatch during the Open Beta. Our mission was to make sure as many console and PC gamers as possible could experience the full game ahead of its launch—the response was overwhelming, and we hope that everyone had a blast.
But… Ah, there’s always a but…
Was it really an open beta? Or was it, as Gears of War head Rod Fergusson has suggested in the past, was this nothing more than a glorified demo? Gamespulp are inclined to think so, especially since Jeff Kaplan has stated that ‘the version you are playing now is what will go live at launch. There will be some bug fixes, etc.’
Given the fact that players can’t expect very many alterations from the beta to the main game, we reckon there might’ve been a more dubious reason for Overwatch’s beta – and we loved what we played, so this isn’t a criticism, as such.
The real purpose of the beta was to overshadow Battleborn’s release. Whether they like it or not, the two are being positioned as rivals – despite some massive differences to their gameplay, which you can read about here – so you can see why Blizzard would be keen to ensure that it’s their FPS that everyone’s talking about.
And if that’s the case, that’s some cunning marketing.