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Overwatch 2: The Paradox of Becoming Steam's Worst User-Reviewed Game Yet Attracting Tens of Thousands

By Xueyang
Aug. 15, 2023 updated 05:21

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The gaming world was stunned when Blizzard's highly anticipated sequel, "Overwatch 2," received the dishonorable title of Steam's worst user-reviewed game ever. Despite this negative reception, the game has still managed to attract tens of thousands of players since its recent launch on the platform.

User Reviews: The Downfall

According to Steam250, a site that ranks the 100 worst Steam games based on user reviews, Overwatch 2 holds a dismal score of 0.96, with an approval rating of just 10% from over 92,000 votes.

The majority of the negative reviews center around the game's monetization strategy. Blizzard's move to transition the premium "Overwatch" into a free-to-play sequel, rendering the original unplayable, sparked an uproar. Since then, controversies have included the cancellation of the much-anticipated PvE Hero mode, with one user summarizing the general sentiment:

"Overwatch 2 has no respect for you; it's an attempt to pry open your wallet while masquerading as the game it used to be."

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A Chinese Connection

Daniel Ahmad, director of research and insights at Niko Partners, has pointed out that nearly two-thirds of Overwatch 2's Steam reviews are written in simplified Chinese, with 97% of them being negative. Chinese players share similar complaints with the rest of the world but have unique frustrations as well.

The ending of Blizzard's agreement with NetEase for distributing Blizzard games in China led to a shutdown of the games in January, causing Chinese players to lose access to their accounts and national server. With the game's launch on Steam, Chinese gamers took this opportunity to voice their dissatisfaction, with many even leaving positive reviews for previous record holder "War of the Three Kingdoms" to keep "Overwatch 2" at the top of the list. (There's also a history between Chinese players and the former worst-reviewed game "War of the Three Kingdoms", but we will not dig into that in this article.)

Concurrent Players and Financial Success

Despite the overwhelmingly negative user reviews, Overwatch 2 has still managed to attract tens of thousands of players on Steam. The game broke into the top five best-sellers on the platform and hit a peak concurrent player count of 75,608 over a weekend.

Blizzard's metrics for success focus on engagement and player investment. Healthy spending in the free-to-play game might prove the ultimate barometer of success, even though the negative reviews raise concerns.

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Conclusion: A Gaming Paradox

Overwatch 2's story paints a picture of a gaming paradox. Its ignominious honor of becoming the worst user-reviewed game on Steam, mainly due to its monetization strategy and specific issues in the Chinese market, coexists with significant numbers of players and possible financial success.

Whether this juxtaposition will affect the game's long-term popularity remains to be seen. As Blizzard continues to update and expand Overwatch 2, all eyes will be on how the gaming community responds to future developments.

Meanwhile, Blizzard's recent remarks about declining player engagement with the game, attributing it to the natural ebb and flow of free-to-play gaming, reflects a calm approach. With Activision Blizzard's next financial report anticipated to comment on the success or otherwise of Overwatch 2, the true impact of these contrasting trends may soon become clear.