When Overwatch 2 releases it will be free-to-play. Thus, the game will live and die based on its monetization and Blizzard‘s ability to tempt players into buying cosmetic items. Some might say the best way to do this is through loot boxes, which the first game launched with. However, over the past few years loot boxes became the target of government regulation as lawmakers labeled it predatory and gambling. Because of this, it perhaps should come as no surprise that there will not be loot boxes in the sequel.
While Blizzard has confirmed there will be an in-game shop, players won’t be able to spend money on loot boxes like they could in the first game. Rather, players will directly buy the items they want, taking the risk and gambling out of the process. Whether this will be the right decision from a monetary perspective, is hard to say, but it’s certainly the right decision from a PR perspective. Further, if the game did have loot boxes, it wouldn’t be able to sell in certain countries, which is a headache no game maker really wants.
According to Blizzard, the game’s in-game shop will be “consistently updated,” which is a pretty standard affair. This is what games like Apex Legends, Fortnite, Rocket League, and just about every game in the space does.
The hurdle for Blizzard will be releasing enough cosmetics to keep up with this constant updating. The other hurdle will be getting the balance between withholding and rewarding players that grind, assuming there will be a way for players to earn some in-game currency without actually spending money, which is a guarantee as each game handles this design decision differently.
Overwatch 2 is set to release — in early access form — on October 4 via Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S, and Xbox Series X. Before this happens, an Open Beta will happen later this month.