Overwatch '2' isn't a sequel, it's a marketing gimmick

Overwatch ‘2’ isn’t a sequel, it’s a marketing gimmick

Monitor 2

Monitor 2
Image: Blizzard Entertainment

Every Friday, audiovisual club staff members kick off our weekly open thread for discussion of game plans and recent gaming glories, but of course the real action is in the comments, where we invite you to answer our eternal question: What are you playing this weekend?

How Much Money Should People Make From Blizzard Entertainment’s Hugely Popular, Brightly Colored Online Shooter Video Game Surveillance were in December 2017?

This is, after all, the month when Epic Games’ Fortnite released its first “Battle Pass” monetization system, popularizing an idea that had caught on with the topic of “How the hell can we get money from people for ‘free’ video games?” side of the game for a few years at that time. (A battle pass, for those of you who don’t know because you’re cool, is a subscription plan that grants players in-game items in exchange for completing certain objectives… and pay real money for the initial opt-in Its genius is both to allow players to feel like income unlocks and creates a heightened sense of FOMO for those who don’t buy.) In a moment, Fortnite redefined the way free games get money from their players, codifying a new subscription-based model for distributing cosmetic items that are gone SurveillanceThe ‘loot box’ model of – with its ghastly reminders of more overt gambling – an instant relic of the past.

Well, rest assured, folks: Blizzard and Activision weren’t going to let that indignity stand. But they couldn’t just completely remove the lootboxes that fueled player progression in Surveillance in favor of a new regime, right? People might revolt! Blizzard’s final solution, however, was much neater, even though it took a few years to implement: they turned to Surveillance off for a day, added a handful of new maps and characters to the ones they’d rolled out regularly for years, swapped the boxes for a battle pass, reduced team sizes from six to five, turned it all back on, and called him Monitor 2.

It’s a cynical read, to be sure. We’re sure the real Blizzard developers could explain to us, in intensive detail, all the ways in which Monitor 2 is a true sequel to the original class-based game that it’s now literally replaced on people’s systems, rather than a retread. But that wouldn’t change the practical realities of logging on to play this “new” title – when and if you box log in to play it, either due to technical issues or Blizzard’s bizarre decision exclude prepaid phone users from their mandatory SMS verification system– and realizing that it’s… Surveillance.

Overwatch 2 launch trailer – it’s everything the new characters, by the way.

It’s the same gameplay, with 95% of the same characters, although a few are reworked to accommodate smaller teams. (RIP Orisa’s Holo-shield; you’ll miss our turtle tactics.) It’s the same basic art, with a few tweaks. It’s the same highs and lows, that feeling of disparate abilities coming together to achieve something almighty, or the feeling of being trampled on because you and the randos you teamed up with could never do it. to click. The characters remain brilliantly drawn (if, uh, still of dubious design), with power sets that are still some of the most thoughtful in the entire class-based gaming sphere. (Also lingering: the moral weirdness of giving even an iota of support to Activision Blizzard after all its recent HR issues.)

In all significant ways, Monitor 2 is Surveillancethe same game we’ve been delving into since 2016. Even the much-vaunted battle pass is identical to hell, filled with the same old cosmetics and a whole host of original merchandise. Surveillance heroes for new players to rise from the dust. (People who shelled out real money for the first game are thankfully grandfathered in to those unlocks.) What we have here, then, is not an innovation in video game design, but a video game marketing. After all, if games are going to become these permanent institutions – constantly updated, retaining as many players as possible for years at a time – then why should they also give up the flashy appeal of releasing something new and cool with a 2 in the name? (Even if the actual offers are decidedly warmed up.) It’s a triumph, honestly, but not in a way that really means much to real gamers.

#Overwatch #isnt #sequel #marketing #gimmick

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