Blizzard scraps part of Overwatch 2’s phone verification system amid backlash

Brad Norton
Overwatch 2 gameplay

With backlash continuing to pile up in the wake of Overwatch 2’s messy launch, Blizzard has relented under the pressure and decided to scrap much of the sequel’s mobile phone verification system.

While the arrival of Overwatch 2 was supposed to be a celebration after years of inactivity for the original game, a rough ‘early access’ launch has left many disappointed with the rollout. From devastating server issues at launch to clunky login problems preventing many, including Blizzard’s own staff, from entering the game, it’s been a troubled start to say the least.

As many issues persist, Blizzard looked to address some of the more crucial talking points in an October 5 blog post. It’s here where Community Manager Jodie Grace Mckaughan addressed the controversial inclusion of SMS protection in the sequel.

Ahead of the game’s release, Blizzard made clear that all Overwatch 2 players would need to link their mobile phone number with their BattleNet account in order to play the game. As hundreds predicted, this quickly led to issues upon release as fans with certain phones and plans were left without a way to access Overwatch 2.

With a growing wave of backlash surrounding this feature, as some likened it to “being punished for being poor,” Blizzard has opted to scrap part of the system moving forward.

“We have made the decision to remove phone number requirements for a majority of existing Overwatch players,” Mckaughan shared in the forum post. As a result, anyone with a connected BattleNet account, including all players who have jumped online since June 9, 2021, “will not have to provide a phone number to play.”

Overwatch 2 Kikiro
Overwatch 2 players new to BattleNet will still need to pass SMS verification moving forward.

While this should come as good news to existing players, it’s not an outright removal of mobile verification. As outlined, new accounts joining BattleNet in future will “still have to meet SMS Protect requirements,” Blizzard added.

This initial swap for existing players hasn’t taken effect just yet. So for those eagerly awaiting their chance to check out Overwatch 2, you’ll need to hold your breath a while longer. Blizzard “expects” to see the change come into effect on Friday, October 7, though plans could always change.

“We remain committed to combating disruptive behavioir in Overwatch 2. As a team, we will keep listening to ongoing feedback and will make further adjustments in this area if it is required.”
We’ll be sure to keep you posted here should any further details emerge in the coming days.

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