The common meme surrounding Overwatch is that it is a dead game, holding on to the hope that its sequel, Overwatch 2, will revive it. But, despite some harsh community sentiments, people still love to play Overwatch five years later. A lot of people, in fact.
Overwatch, Blizzard’s first-person hero shooter first debuted in 2016 with loads of hype and excitement surrounding both the game itself and its esports endeavor, the Overwatch League (OWL).
Since then, the game has produced some amazing moments in the FPS world, including several large, in-person events for the OWL with packed stadiums and exciting matches. But, half a decade after its release, the title has also suffered some less than stellar moments, including a litany of delays for Overwatch 2. It has been a rollercoaster, to say the least, for fans of the franchise.
But, how many people are still logging on to play Overwatch?
It’s more than you might think.
Overwatch Monthly Active Players
According to Active Player, Overwatch has racked up at least 5 million average players each month in 2021, peaking as high as 7.3 million.
This data is an estimate, the site claims, but still stands to be a staggering amount for a game that is now over five years old.
For context, here are some other notable game’s totals for active players in August of 2021. This is the month in which Overwatch peaked at an estimated 7 million active players, all according to Active Player.
- Minecraft: 166 million
- Valorant: 14 million
- League of Legends: 126 million
- Apex Legends: 114 million
- World of Warcraft: 7 million
- Fortnite: 280 million
Overwatch has not received any significant new content since April 2020, when the hero, Echo, was released. Since that time, only skins and maps have been added. Not only that, but games like Apex Legends, Fortnite, Valorant, and League of Legends continue to innovate their esports, and have a constant cycle of new characters and in-game content for players to enjoy.
But, for Overwatch, not all hope is lost.
The Future of Overwatch
Both the game and the Overwatch League have faced their fair share of difficulties over the course of the last two years. However, each has an exciting opportunity to grow, looking ahead. This hope manifests itself in the form of Overwatch 2, the game’s long-awaited sequel that was announced in 2019 at Blizzcon.
Overwatch 2 has been delayed multiple times due to a variety of different factors, but should release sometime in 2022 or 2023. When this happens, the game should receive a significant jolt of active players and the OWL should see a revitalization in viewership as well.
If Overwatch 2 can be to Destiny what Destiny 2 has been, and the OWL can successfully achieve its homestead/travel model that it set out to do in 2018, each may be in for its own renaissance in the coming years. Although there are still many hurdles to climb leading up until that point, there is room for optimism for fans.