Hey friend! I know you‘re an Overwatch player wondering if you‘ll get Overwatch 2 for free. The quick answer is: Unfortunately no, Overwatch 2 is not completely free for Overwatch 1 owners.
But as a fellow Overwatch fan, let me walk you through exactly what you do and don‘t get for free, so you can decide if you want to buy Overwatch 2.
What You Get for Free in Overwatch 2 as an Overwatch 1 Owner
While the whole game isn‘t free, you do get some nice perks for being a veteran player:
- Access to Overwatch 2‘s Core PvP Multiplayer – This is free for all players, including OW1 owners. You can enjoy 5v5 matches, new maps, reworked heroes and more.
- Your Overwatch 1 Cosmetics Carry Over – All the skins, sprays, voice lines and other cosmetics you unlocked will be waiting for you in OW2. Your collection is safe!
Exclusive Overwatch 2 Founder‘s Pack – Owners of OW1 get the Founder‘s Pack for free which includes:
- 2 Epic Legendary Skins – Doomfist Soldier 76 skins ($20 value)
- Overwatch 2 Player Icon
- Founder‘s Profile Banner
So you get to keep your progression and some bonus cosmetics – not bad! But what don‘t you get for free?
What Isn‘t Free – Features Locked Behind Paywall
While the core 5v5 multiplayer crosses over from OW1, many shiny new OW2 features are locked behind a paywall:
- Story Missions – The highly anticipated PvE story content like the Canada mission aren‘t playable.
- New Heroes – Starting with Kiriko, new heroes are locked on the Battle Pass premium track.
- Battle Passes – You need to purchase the Battle Pass to earn seasonal cosmetics, new heroes etc.
- Mythic Skins – Fancy new tier of skins can only be purchased separately.
According to reports, only 15% of OW1 players transitioned to OW2 in its launch week. Clearly many veterans aren‘t satisfied with what‘s on offer for free.
Why Overwatch 2 Isn‘t Fully Free for Overwatch 1 Players
I know you must be wondering why Blizzard won‘t comp loyal fans with the entire OW2 package. Here are the key reasons driving this strategy:
1. PvE Development is Expensive
OW2‘s PvE content like story missions and hero missions represent a massive investment – estimated at the same cost as developing OW1!
Monetizing this content helps fund future PvE development. Unlocking heroes helps drive Battle Pass purchases season after season.
2. Incentivize Ongoing Spending
Giving away all post-launch content for free removes incentive for players to spend money. OW2 is built to continuously monetize players through Battle Passes, cosmetic purchases etc.
3. Shift to "Games as a Service" Model
OW2 signals the shift from discrete game releases to ongoing "games as a service". Regular spending by engaged players overtakes one-time game purchases.
4. Focus on Whales
Peranalytics firm Newzoo, 50% of F2P revenue comes from just 0.19% of players i.e. "whales" who spend big. OW2‘s monetization aims to hook whales.
Player Reaction to Overwatch 2‘s Monetization
Many OW veterans are unhappy with the monetization strategy, as seen in comments and forum posts:
"I paid full price for OW1 and now have to re-earn characters I already unlocked?"
"The Battle Pass is just FOMO psychological manipulation to squeeze money out of players."
"Linking new heroes to the Battle Pass destroys competitive integrity when not all players have access."
Others don‘t mind the tradeoff of free multiplayer access in exchange for paid unlocks. But consensus is that Blizzard could have been more generous to OW1 owners.
The Bottom Line for Overwatch Players
Unless you‘re a diehard OW fan, I‘d suggest waiting 3-6 months for more content and heroes to be added to OW2 before jumping in. The launch version is light on new PvE content.
For OW1 owners expecting a true sequel, temper expectations. OW2 right now is mostly just an update to multiplayer with new monetization.
Hope this overview gives you a better idea of what to expect as an Overwatch player! Let me know if you have any other questions. Happy gaming!