Blizzard’s open beta for the upcoming Overwatch has come to a close after being available for an entire week, and the interest surrounding the game is remarkable.
Depending on a gamer’s age, he or she might have a drastically different opinion about what constitutes an open beta. In recent years, the term has often been assigned to games that are already extremely close to release, and open beta periods are often used as a stress test for online servers more than a global treasure hunt for undiscovered bugs or glitches. When games like Blizzard’s Overwatch receive extended open betas, then, it is usually not because a developer needs more data but rather because gamers are simply having a lot of fun.
That Overwatch‘s open beta period was a resounding success should come as no surprise to those who have paid attention to social media during the time the game has been available to the public. Uncharacteristically for a developer prior to release, however, Blizzard revealed just how popular its shooter really was: according to a report from Blizzard, Overwatch‘s open beta period saw more users than Star Wars Battlefront, Destiny, and The Division.
Overwatch saw more than 9.7 million players dive into its addictive multiplayer gameplay, which barely beats out the 9.5 million Battlefront had during its open beta and completely eclipses The Division‘s 6.4 million and Destiny‘s 4.64 million respective users during their public trial periods. Clearly, it seems the gaming community has moved past the Overwatch Tracer butt scandal that briefly dominated news headlines a month ago.
Of course, it’s important to note that Battlefront‘s open beta was two days shorter, while The Division‘s was similarly three days quicker. That being said, however, neither of those games managed to spawn a massive player discussion around an OP character the way Overwatch‘s Bastion has, which speaks to the way fans have become invested in the game and want it to be balanced immediately.
Blizzard, as a developer, has made a name for itself on creating new spins on pre-existing game genres that breathe life into the tropes that characterize them. While it’s obvious that Overwatch has influences as far-ranging as Team Fortress 2 and Counter-Strike, Blizzard has included its trademark story-telling in Overwatch‘s animated shorts and the result has been fans picking their favorite characters before ever playing a match of the game. That kind of dedication, and the 9.7 million-strong playerbase that has already tried Overwatch, both seem only more likely to grow as the game nears its release date.
What do you think about Overwatch‘s impressive player numbers during the open beta? Are you one of the millions of gamers struggling with the two week wait for more Overwatch action? Let us know in the comments below.
Overwatch will be available for PS4, Xbox One, and PC on May 24, 2016.