Overwatch Maps And Characters Will Be Free, Not DLC

I’m still a little surprised that Blizzard’s class-based FPS Overwatch [official site] will be sold as a thing in a box you pay for with money up-front (£30/$40), rather than be free-to-play as I suppose I’d assumed. But hey, don’t worry: it won’t pull the usual Activision FPS post-launch monetisation antics. Blizzard have confirmed that they plan to add new heroes and maps for free, not in reams of paid DLC.

Game director Jeff Kaplan explained it all in a developer update video released this week. He explained that Blizzard think Overwatch’s 21 current heroes are balanced, fun, and unique, but “we have ideas for additional maps and heroes that we’d like to add to the game. We thought about this and we decided the best way to add them to the game is to patch them in as free content and not as DLC.”

He continued:

“We don’t have an exact timeline of when new heroes will be added to the game – how soon after launch – or how many. That’s something we really need to get a feel for – what’s healthy for the game – so I don’t have a lot of specific details there. We just know when we patch a new hero into the game we want it to be free and not as DLC.”

Good-o! Judging by the contents of its many editions, Blizzard will likely sell cosmetic skins and pets and things, but sure, whatever, that’s fine.

Hey, read what Pip thought after a quick go in the Overwatch beta. The full game’s due in spring. Here’s Jeff:


  1. Premium User Badge

    Qazinsky says:

    A box price might be a good idea to keep the community from turning toxic, people tend to be a little more careful with their accounts if they can’t just make a new one for free.

    Not sure $40 is the right price point though, for multiplayer games like these and mobas and such, you want a pretty large community. Maybe $15 for the box and some cosmetic cash shop would be a better compromise?

    • jasta85 says:

      I think $40 is reasonable since you don’t have to pay for heroes/maps. They will definitely have a cosmetic store (since cosmetics are in the game) and that will most likely generate them a steady flow of income.

      Sure some of the F2P crowd may not jump in, but given that this is Blizzard, and their first new IP since starcraft, there is no way they are not going to make an absolute killing with this game. and with future updates they’ll definitely loop in more people who are on the fence at launch.

      I prefer this model to the heroes of the storm version, where they charged $40 for the nexus bundle, which did NOT give you all the heroes (not even all the ones available at launch) and you still have to pay for more heroes in the future. sure you can buy them with gold but considering the prices a lot of people are going to be shelling out cash as opposed to having to grind tons and tons of games for the newest hero.

    • ffordesoon says:

      I’d agree with you if it weren’t a Blizzard game, but their pedigree is such that they can charge a Blizzard tax. And yes, I’m aware that the hardcore contingent argues that Blizzard hasn’t made a great game since Warcraft 3, but the hardcore contingent is tiny compared to the audience of WOW and Hearthstone and Diablo 3 and even Starcraft 2. I don’t know how HOTS is doing, but my guess is it’s also doing pretty damn well. In addition, their back catalog is full of evergreen earners that haven’t seen a permanent price drop in ages.

      To be honest, I’m shocked Overwatch is so cheap on PC. Diablo 3 launched at $60 and sold like gangbusters despite the launch version being a huge disappointment that didn’t work for a week or two after it came out. And in spite of the negative press, it kept selling. That’s the power of the Blizzard brand. So trust me, at $40, the audience for Overwatch will be there.

      • Premium User Badge

        Qazinsky says:

        I hope you’re right, I don’t personally get along with MOBAs but if this kind of classbased FPS is the next big thing, I might get in on that.

      • Wisq says:

        Well, Diablo 3 also had the whole “long-awaited franchise sequel” thing going for it. Maybe Blizzard is a little more cautious when it comes to pricing new IPs, especially ones that rely on a decently-sized multiplayer community. (TBH, I’m indeed surprised they aren’t F2Ping it for that reason alone.)

        • bums_manifesto says:

          They can always go free to play in the future, like TF2 eventually did. I’d prefer it didn’t.

    • Jinoru says:

      Having played the beta, this game is easily worth $40. It feels brimming with possibilities.

    • typographie says:

      This game’s balance seems to rely heavily on being able to play any hero at any time to counter what the enemy team is doing. I think the $40 price tag and the cosmetic microtransactions are there to enable them to keep the heroes free, because someone without them would be at a serious, arguably game-breaking disadvantage under this system.

      Personally, I think that as long as this game launches with what most agree is $40 worth of complete content, many, many people will be glad for the opportunity to pay for it. The free-to-play/microtransaction-supported model is a bit of a lightning rod in the gaming community right now, and it’s pretty refreshing to see this.

    • Viral Frog says:

      I don’t see the price being any sort of barrier. Look at COD. A “new” game every year and people eat them up for $59.99/each.

      • socrate says:

        i find it funny that you mention CoD since its basically the big activision money maker and also point out “new” as if overwatch hasn’t been done before.

        • Kitsunin says:

          Wut wut wut? Doesn’t it being Activision’s big money maker make the point far more legitimate? It’s a game whose main area of interest is multiplayer at a price of $60, obsolescence on the horizon from day one, and it’s still hugely successful.

          And then, Overwatch has been done before? Y’mean TF2? Because if so, I don’t think you quite understand a lot of things.

  2. DigitalSignalX says:

    Is this the same thing as saying “there won’t be expansions?”

    Because this is Blizzard, and expansions are simply what they do. Until I hear some sort of definitive statement on that, I’m still going to assume that at some point there will be a physical divide among the community.

  3. bums_manifesto says:

    This is good news.

  4. socrate says:

    Such an overhyped game…but then in this dark age of gaming and fps devoid of anything interesting i guess making a game like dirty bomb and TF2 is somehow a genius move.

    The silly part in this is that now gamer have basically bended over and took it deep and enjoy it with the whole microtransaction in a payed game…the sad part is that most youtuber were pushed to talk positively of it because they got in early on that dumb train,yet dirty bomb wasn’t talked about that much compared to this and is exactly the same type of game with the same kind of colorful graphic(although not candy land colorful like most blizzard game nowaday).

    Really blizzard is a company i stopped caring about…blizz north is no more…activision is pretty much micro transactioning an already insanely profitable company that didn’t need it and it turned into the dumbing down generation of gamer that every other company does.

    And really…pvp in a blizzard game…either they have another activision studio in this(from how it plays sometime i would think CoD really) or people will end up dealing with all the horrible pvp unbalance and shift in who whine the most about what class or who play which class and is in control of balance like all their dumb product with pvp content in them,the recent take on pvp revival of WoW was just hilarious.

    I also don’t get why people say this as anything to do with Dota in any single way because alots of FPS now have done activatable ability and yet this is more like dota because of that?WTH…if you want dota just look at battleborn instead its pretty much that an fps with laning and pushing,ganking and leveling up with actual mob in the lane.

  5. Cooper says:

    Paid skins upset me. I remember when online shooter games just came with a whole bunch of skins for free, and you could just add more easily with simple mods. They were nice those days, when you could pay for a game and then not be asked for any more money…

    • Nyxx says:

      Is this the new thing to complain about then? Skins? I mean I remember a time when there were no skins for online shooters, but I’m not complaining. Skins are optional, they probably give some people the idea they are ‘special’ or maybe they just like them. However, they do not add anything to the gameplay itself. Heroes and maps on the other hand are critical for games like Overwatch, where you do not want to divide the playerbase.

      Seeing as heroes play such an important role in Overwatch (even more so than Dota 2, because you can react to the other team by changing hero instead of the Dota 2 way where you adapt your item build (e.g. monkey king bar (which counters evasion) when someone builds a butterfly (which gives evasion)) I think they made a great choice.

      I’m happy they chose to go the pay2play + cosmetics way, this way you just have to pay for a game and not pay anything else if you do not want to. Which is a fair model, that supports Overwatch as esport.

  6. Artificial says:

    Wouldn’t be surprised if it started off as a premium game, and then slowly sways towards freemium, following a CS:GO type model as sales start to try up.

  7. Artificial says:

    In addition, a game play like this is one I probably would have had a go at for free just because it’s a Blizzard game, and I’d have probably been tempted into paying for a few skins or whatever, but it’s just not the sort of game I’d pay that amount for, or continue shelling out for DLC’s.