Overwatch 2 drops phone requirement for most "existing Overwatch players"

Heidi Nicholas - September 28th 2022

Following a difficult launch, Blizzard is changing the requirements of its SMS Protect measure and has "made the decision to remove phone number requirements for a majority of existing Overwatch players." [Updated]

Update: "We designed Overwatch 2 to be a live service, which enables us to be responsive to a variety of player feedback. We have made the decision to remove phone number requirements for a majority of existing Overwatch players," Blizzard says. This change should be implemented on October 7th and means that if you have a connected Battle.net account (which Blizzard says includes everyone who has played since June 9th, 2021), you won't need your phone number to launch the game. Unconnected and new accounts will still need their phone number.

Original story: Time to play the original Overwatch is running out ahead of the arrival of Overwatch 2 next week — the devs have detailed an extensive "defence matrix" initiative and dropped a new launch trailer for the sequel.

Overwatch 2 arrives on October 4th, and the devs have explained how an extensive "defence matrix" initiative outlining how it aims to "disincentivise disruptive behaviour and gameplay" in the sequel. The launch trailer has also just arrived — check it out below.

Blizzard's defence matrix is for "fortifying gameplay integrity and positivity in Overwatch 2"

Blizzard's outline of its defence matrix takes the form of a lengthy news post, but the devs say it "encompasses our infrastructure of systems designed to help protect the integrity of gameplay and promote positive behaviour in Overwatch 2."

Measures included with the defence matrix include SMS Protect — when Overwatch 2 arrives on October 4th, every player will need to have a phone number on their battle.net account to launch the game. Blizzard says this should help if your account is compromised, while also making it "more difficult" for suspended or banned players to come back to the game.

The game will also "collect a temporary voice recording" of a reported player before transcribing it so it can be checked for "disruptive behaviour." Blizzard says the recording will be deleted once transcribed, while the text file will be deleted 30 days after.

Interestingly, to help new players acclimatise to Overwatch 2, the First Time User Experience will restrict new players: they'll start off with a "limited set of game modes, heroes, and some other restrictions to onboard them more gradually." It seems you'll then unlock the game modes and chat, while all the original heroes will need to be unlocked over 100 matches.

There's much more to read on that blog post, but it's clear Blizzard has big plans for Overwatch 2, which will feature 35 heroes, 22 maps, and six "distinct" modes. What do you think of Blizzard's plans and initiatives? Will you be playing Overwatch 2 on October 4th? Let us know in the comments!