Overwatch 2: Had ZERO Profit for Devs during March Payout

The troubles appear to be continuing for Overwatch 2, with recent reports suggesting that Blizzard did not give any... Stalingrad | 23. March 2024

The troubles appear to be continuing for Overwatch 2, with recent reports suggesting that Blizzard did not give any profit-sharing bonuses to its developers in 2H23. This shocking revelation from Bloomberg really does paint a very grim picture of the hero shooter’s financial health and prospects.

Profit-Sharing at Blizzard: How It Works

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Blizzard Entertainment pays developers bonuses two times yearly – in August for the first one half of the year and March for the 2nd half of the prior year. These bonuses are directly related to the commercial success of the games and franchises they oversee.

Traditionally, Blizzard’s overall corporate performance figured into the profit-sharing pool. But a 2023 policy change by then-Activision CEO Bobby Kotick moved to a system where bonuses for each game are based on that franchise’s individual sales and metrics.

Overwatch 2 – No Bonuses – No Profits

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Under this new system, the fact that Overwatch 2’s developers received a 0% payout for the March bonus period covering the second half of 2023 is an ominous sign. Bloomberg’s sources have said it is practically impossible for a Blizzard game to miss any of its bonus targets.

This grim conclusion means Overwatch 2 fell far short of internal sales estimates and did not earn any profit in the second half of last year. The hit is even more significant as the game had already fallen short of expectations in the first half of 2023 too.

What Is Going Wrong?

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Although Blizzard hasn’t commented further, the reports suggest the lackluster start of Overwatch 2’s PvE story missions may be a contributing factor to the game’s failings. Season 6’s three mission packs are said to have done very poorly.

That follows Microsoft laying off most of the Overwatch 2 team that works on PvE content in January. Those reports stated that the rest of the developers would now concentrate on PvP updates exclusively from now on, scrapping any PvE plans altogether.

Troubled Development

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Since its inception, Overwatch 2 has experienced delays, controversies, and mixed reviews. Many longtime fans were angered by the switch to 5v5 matches and free-to-play model with aggressive monetization strategy.

Consistent complaints of shallow battle passes, lack of cosmetic rewards, buggy releases and a steady stream of new heroes tarnished much of the initial excitement. Still mixed reviews and an incessant flood of negative user scores on Steam likely didn’t help either.

While each seasonal update improved things, the inconsistent content pipeline and absence of a major marketplace hook such as Overwatch 2’s scrapped PvE mode could have severely limited revenue streams.

What Comes Next?

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According to Bloomberg’s sources, Overwatch 2’s team had already been warned in August 2023 that their profit bonuses could be affected by the game’s poor first-half showing that year. According to reports, Blizzard compensated the developers at the time – but did not make any concessions for the zero bonuses in March 2024.

This could be a reflection of a lack of faith from Blizzard leadership in Overwatch 2’s financial recovery. But with no more PvE content planned and developers now fully committed to PvP updates, things look grim indeed.

Some bright spots in the season 10 update included an updated Antarctic Peninsula map, tweaks to Overwatch credits and mythic skin rewards. But with Overwatch 2 currently losing favour with the mainstream crowd, that might be too little, way too late.

Whether Blizzard’s perpetually unlucky sequel can somehow reverse course and start making big bucks again is only time. But given these new zero bonus reports, the developers of that game certainly have a tough road ahead of them. In 2024, Overwatch 2 may need to deliver some seismic shifts and big hits to get back on Blizzard’s good side financially.