Blizzard Dumps Phone Requirement for ‘Overwatch 2’

Blizzard is partially removing the controversial requirement.

Blizzard is partially removing the controversial requirement.

Last week, prior to the recent launch of their new game Overwatch 2, video game developer Blizzard announced that, as part of their new security measures, players would be required to register a phone number to their account to log in and play. This decision was met with severe blowback, both from those concerned about privacy and from those who either don’t have or cannot afford a personal smartphone. Individuals who use prepaid phone plans cannot use the SMS Protect feature required by Blizzard, effectively locking them out of the game.

“I’m really upset and oddly ashamed for not meeting this ‘standard’,” wrote a user on the Overwatch subreddit. “Never thought I would be disqualified from playing overwatch based on my ability [to] afford a phone contract, but here we are… Blizzard is the first company to make me feel too poor to play a game.”

In response to this blowback, Blizzard announced that they’d be walking back the requirement, albeit only partially. “We designed Overwatch 2 to be a live service, which enables us to be responsive to a variety of player feedback,” wrote Blizzard community manager Jodie. “We have made the decision to remove phone number requirements for a majority of existing Overwatch players. Any Overwatch player with a connected Battle.net account, which includes all players who have played since June 9, 2021, will not have to provide a phone number to play. We are working to make this change and expect it to go live on Friday, October 7. We will update players once it is in effect.”

“Accounts that were not connected to Battle.net as well as new accounts will still have to meet SMS Protect requirements, which helps to ensure we’re protecting our community against cheating. If a player is caught engaging in disruptive behavior, their account may be banned whether they have a new account or not.”

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