Two days ago, the popular game Overwatch received an update, adding a new character, Sombra, and new game modes. Fans rejoiced, and the number of players slowly increased. I’m not going to lie, I’m having a lot of fun with it too, but I’m beginning to get worried about the well-being of the development cycle in the future.
Overwatch is a MOBA
MOBA, of course, standing for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. Essentially, the game lives through the player base, if there is no player base, there is no game. This is because to play the game, you need a team of other players and a team to play against. As of right now, Overwatch is far away from the issue of not having enough players. As of October 13th, Overwatch has garnered over 20 Million registered players.
The thing is, if a development team released a MOBA and then retired, the game would fail. MOBAs get their money from purchasable in-game cosmetics and other in-game transactions. Because the format of the game has no form of power progression, (imagine how unfair it would be if players who played for longer got better items and were therefore at an advantage compared to new entrants!), the way MOBAs continue to attract players is through adding more content.
And here is where I start to worry
After release, Overwatch developers got into the groove, releasing a major content patch in the form of Ana, and things were looking up. But then…. nothing.
The excuse they had scribbled on their hand was that they were waiting to reveal the next update at Blizzcon, which means they actually wanted to wait for six months. What a time we live in, where a game that is on the brink of death has caring and smart developers, while the new IP made by the same company has developers which, honestly, seem like they want to do something else. Lets hope the movie will save them.