Blizzard announces that all future maps and characters added to multiplayer-only shooter Overwatch post release will be available for players to download for free.
Widely believed to be a free-to-play PC shooter in a similar vein to Team Fortress 2, Blizzard surprised a lot of fans by announcing that Overwatch, a character-driven shooter and their first IP in 17 years, would in fact be a full priced title that was also set to come to consoles. At the time of that announcement, Blizzard was not quite ready to discuss DLC plans, as multiple ways of handling post-content release were still under consideration.
With fans wanting answers since Blizzcon, game director Jeff Kaplan finally confirmed that all future maps and characters would be available for players to download for free. The decision was made in an effort not to segment the Overwatch community, considering that this is a multiplayer first title and fragmenting the player base through various map packs would hurt the game’s overall longevity. It’s worth noting that Blizzard is also considering different types of add-on content post-release, though what that entails and for how much is yet to be known.
There’s been a lot of back and forth with Overwatch since the sixty dollar PlayStation 4 and Xbox One “Origin Edition” leak prior to Blizzcon last month. Initially believed to be a PC-only title, Overwatch Origin Edition was revealed to be coming to both Xbox One and Playstation 4, and will also be made available for PC players who want the complete experience. This version of the game offers all 21 heroes right out of the gate, in addition to five different skins for a few of the main characters such as Tracer and Widowmaker. PC fans also have the option for a more bare-bones version of Overwatch for forty dollars, without any of the add on items.
Even though shooter-style games are immensely popular with gamers, the handling of downloadable content and map packs has been a big issue in the past. Typically, map packs would release at a set price, and those who purchased them would be separated from those who didn’t. Effectively, this splits the player base, causing an issue where finding full matches becomes more and more difficult. Companies have begun to release maps for free, instead making a profit through other means such as microtransactions to offset the cost. Games like Rainbow Six Siege, and Halo 5 Guardians have moved to this model, and so far it seems to be incredibly popular and lucrative.
Even though the base game isn’t free to play like many, are you happy that Blizzard is offering DLC characters and maps for free? What other add-ons would you like to see down the road?
Overwatch launches Spring 2016 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
Source: Overwatch YouTube Channel