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Overwatch 2: Rated Worst Ever on Steam, Chinese Outcry Explained

Overwatch 2 faces immense criticism in its aftermath on Steam, marking the lowest-rated game on the platform. The criticism mainly stems from disappointed Chinese players leading to further examination of why Overwatch 2 has fallen short of being among the best gaming products over the past several years.

Launched on August 10, Overwatch 2 received a heavy onslaught of negative reviews, landing it with a dismal 15% positive rating. Main points of backlash included unfulfilled promises about Player versus Environment (PvE) content, dubious monetization tactics and insubstantial improvements over its predecessor.

But, why are the Chinese players particularly upset? This discontent can be tracked back to developer Blizzard’s falling out with NetEase, its Chinese partner last year. NetEase had previously seen to the operation and adherence to local policies of Blizzard games in China. When this 14 year-long partnership ended, all of Blizzard’s games, notably Overwatch 2, Warcraft, and Diablo, went offline on January 23, 2023. This left millions of Chinese players frustrated and waiting for Blizzard to establish a new partnership.

An analyst, Ahmad, observed that the majority of negative reviews dwelt on Blizzard’s handling of Overwatch 2, as well as not creating dedicated national servers and the issues with online connection. With the launch on Steam, Chinese gamers utilized this international platform to voice their concerns and grievances. Furthermore, they were upset at losing their previous game accounts following Blizzard’s exit from China.

Ahmad adds that both World of Warcraft and Overwatch were the most favored Blizzard PC games among Chinese players, according to a survey conducted by Niko Partners in March. Their removal only simmered a pot of frustration which eventually boiled over with Overwatch 2’s release on Steam.

As of now, Overwatch 2 sits on an “Overwhelmingly Negative” rating, with only 9% of 117k reviews marking it positive, categorizing it as the lowest-rated game in Steam history. Comparatively, the Chinese card game, War of the Three Kingdoms couldn’t escape the scorn of gamers as well.

It’s clear that the abrupt shutdown of Blizzard’s games in China subjected Overwatch, a previously popular game, to the brunt of frustration manifested in overwhelmingly negative reviews following its relaunch on Steam. Consequently, the necessity to satisfy the fanbase and fix credibility issues remains a serious challenge for Blizzard.

Blizzard’s decision to change to a battle pass model in 2022 did more harm than good for Overwatch 2, especially as it coerced users of the premium predecessor to switch to a free-to-play sequel. This left the original Overwatch game unplayable, causing an uproar among its fan base. It then added fuel to the fire by taking out its much-awaited PvE Hero mode, which was largely considered as the main justification for the creation of the sequel.

Steeped in controversy and overwhelmingly negative reviews, the future of Overwatch 2 remains uncertain. It’s clear that for Blizzard to regain the trust and appreciation of their global player base, including Chinese gamers, they will have to seriously reflect on these criticisms and take the necessary actions to remedy the game’s shortcomings. Until then, it seems like Overwatch 2 will retain its unenviable position as the lowest rated game on Steam.

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