40 million players also confirmed
Blizzard, in addition to reconfirming “over 40 million players” have interacted with Overwatch 2, has also provided details for their “Defense Matrix Initiative,” which is apparently “making strides to push toward a fairer gaming experience for all players.” In short, it’s an enhanced anti-cheat system.
Overwatch 2 now has custom game moderation and “disruptive voice chat detection”
This is the big one. The workshop system and custom games have been causing issues since launch, and Blizzard is trying to “provide ways to make sure custom games remain safe and enjoyable for all players.” Moderation tools will “automatically remove custom games containing inappropriate titles or content,” while penalizing accounts that do so.
As for the chat bit, Blizzard is implementing voice-to-text transcription and “AI learning” to assist in moderation, which started with Season 2. Blizzard says they’ve “already begun working to stop disruptive players with applicable chat silencing and account suspensions as needed”
A new “streamer protection” system is in place, and there’s more of a focus on taking down cheaters
In the ever-growing gaming landscape, considerations for all types of players are always a concern, including streamers. While Blizzard admits “stream sniping” (the attempt of queuing into a streamer’s game to disrupt the stream) is a tough nut to crack, they are trying a few things to mitigate it. This one is arguably the biggest policy rollout: “Players will now be able to hide their current BattleTag or hide the tags of the other players in the same game they play in on their own game client. This will prevent those who may be watching that player’s live stream from identifying if they’re in the same lobby. Players can also now hide the current queue time and even delay it for a random time before the game actually begins to find a match for that player. Replay Codes can also now be hidden from appearing in the game client. These features will be available starting in Season 3 for all players and can be found in the Social options in your settings.”
Blizzard also re-ups their commitment to taking down cheaters, noting that “over 50,000 accounts” have been dealt with. When Season 3 hits, they’ll be able to more easily identify cheaters with the Defense Matrix Initiative, and controversially, will sanction players who are “grouping up with anyone who uses cheats and hacks.” The idea is to take out “players who knowingly group up with cheaters,” which will involve suspensions (while the player who is directly using cheats will be banned permanently).
We’ll see how this one shakes out! Overwatch 2 and Blizzard as a whole aren’t in the best spot in terms of public perception, so I expect this facet of the initiative will be the toughest to enforce going forward.