Blizzard is bringing a selection of its PC games over to Steam, starting with Overwatch 2. The free-to-play team-based shooter is headed to Valve’s gaming client on August 10, in what appears to be a change in Blizzard’s strategy due to its impending acquisition by Microsoft and the low player engagement the game has garnered in recent times. The Windows PC version of Overwatch 2 and other games from the publisher is largely restricted to its Battle.net launcher — a hot topic for most PC gamers, who prefer having all their games on one platform and hate having to juggle between them. The Steam version will also include the niceties of unlockable achievements and cross-platform multiplayer.
“It’s our goal at Blizzard to listen to players and try to exceed their expectations in everything we do,” Mike Ybarra, President, Blizzard Entertainment said in a blog post. “While Battle.net remains a priority for us now and into the future, we’ve heard players want the choice of Steam for a selection of our games, starting with Overwatch 2 on August 10th. We’re happy to work with Valve to make that happen.” While players will still be forced to link their Battle.net accounts to Steam, there is no reason to keep the former installed on your system. Replying to a tweet, Ybarra confirmed that Overwatch 2 will launch directly through Steam and the decision has been the result of a long discussion within Blizzard, based on player input. “There are no other factors or partners influencing this,” he added in a follow-up tweet.
Battle.net was introduced in 1996, long before Valve’s Steam came into the picture, but still managed to hold off on its own — compared to competitors like Origin, which rebranded itself to the EA App, and the Epic Games Store, which people mostly keep installed to score some free games. While it’s certainly convenient for all PC games to launch on Steam, there is a reason why certain publishers choose to launch their own gaming clients. You see, for every game sold on Steam, Valve takes a 30 percent cut for hosting it on their platform, which drastically reduced piracy, especially for indie developers. However, if a publisher such as EA or Blizzard makes their own platform, they get to keep all profits from game sales and in-game purchases. Over the years, publishers have softened that approach, with EA’s games now simultaneously available and natively playable on Steam.
Overwatch 2’s arrival on Steam coincides with the same day its first set of story missions, dubbed ‘Invasion,’ drops as part of the season 6 content, promising new types of co-op events that push the overarching story forward. The bundle costs $15 (about Rs. 1,231), granting permanent access to the damage-based hero Sojourn to new players. This update comes after Blizzard confirmed its plans to cancel Overwatch 2’s long-awaited and highly marketed PvE story mode, in May. For now, there is no word on which other Blizzard games will be jumping onto Steam — hopefully, the Diablo games are next. Support for the Steam Deck hasn’t been announced either.
Overwatch 2 is headed to Steam on August 10.