Tuesday, June 7, 2016
...or rather: does it mean anything at all? Launched on May 24, Blizzard's Overwatch saw some 7 million players hit its servers during its first week alone, instantly becoming one of the best selling new IPs and most popular games. The style of the game is what one would call a fast-in and fast-out one, which allows players to jump in and get a huge shot of action almost instantly, being able to leave at a moment's notice. In today's ever accelerating world, this is a very valuable feature indeed, one that may well be counted as a major reason for the popularity of the title. Another factor may be that of seasonality: in the summer, people prefer to spend less time playing and maybe more outside, so Overwatch has indeed landed at just the right time.
Some think though that Overwatch and the brand of game-play it brings will somehow impact the world of MMOs, which has indeed grown quite stale over the last few years. Sure, there are efforts out there to innovate, but at the end of the day, the recipe is by-and-large always the same. While Overwatch may have little to do directly with MMOs, it certainly cannot be written down as a mere "flavor of the month". It will impact all gaming in general, beginning with MOBAs and going all the way to MMOs someday...that is unless the traditional MMO goes the way of the RTS and falls out of grace with the majority of players.
One thing is certain about Overwatch's impact already: it will generate a bunch of clones, some probably good, others abysmal. Whether that's a plus or not remains to be seen, but it is quite certain to be the first manifestation of Overwatch's influence on the online gaming vert. Another effect which is also already undeniable is the seemingly effortless way the game has managed to suck in players from other genres, like MOBAs, FPSs and MMORPGs too...that alone should provide some food for thought for those responsible with MMO innovation.
Philip Thalberg works for Gosugamers, the best source for The International 2016 news.