With the launch of Overwatch 2, we have welcomed over 40 million players, both returning and new, to the world of Overwatch! Since becoming free-to-play, we've continued to combat disruptive behaviors, including gameplay sabotage, abusive chat, and cheating. As explained in the introduction to our Defense Matrix initiative, we've already made strides to push toward a fairer gaming experience for all our players. Today, we have a few updates we'd like to share about how we’re continuing to ensure Overwatch 2 is a fun and safe game for everyone to enjoy.
Disruptive Voice Chat Detection
In our previous blog we announced that we would begin to identify and take action against those who are disruptive in voice chat through the use of our new voice-to-text transcription and AI learning algorithms. We've begun to rollout this new technology starting in Season 2 for select regions and it’s proven to be exceptionally accurate and effective in identifying abusive chat and language. We’ve already begun working to stop disruptive players with applicable chat silencing and account suspensions as needed.
Remember to report anyone you find to be abusive, whether in voice chat or text chat, immediately as soon as you encounter it in your games. Reporting right away helps us take action on those accounts faster.
Custom Game Moderation
Many of the custom games our players have come up with continue to be fun and creative ways to enjoy Overwatch 2. While we work to bring back our advanced Workshop tools for custom game creators to use, we also want to make sure we are providing ways to make sure our custom games remain safe and enjoyable for all of our players.
We’ll soon be adding in new moderation technology that works behind the scenes to automatically remove custom games containing inappropriate titles or content, along with issuing restrictions or account actions to those who create and post such custom games.
Remember, when you see any inappropriate custom game listing, be sure to open the custom game’s information tab and report them.
Introducing Streamer Protection
A part of maintaining a strong Overwatch 2 community is supporting our dedicated players who create content and live stream across various video platforms. A growing problem in live streaming communities is when disruptive players attempt to interfere with these content creators by trying to queue into the same match they want to play. “Stream sniping” is not an easy problem to solve, but starting in season 3, we’re introducing new streaming protection features that should be a huge step toward enabling content creators to share Overwatch 2 with their fans safely and without harassment from disruptive players.
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.
Grouping Up and Playing Fair
We acknowledge that cheating continues to be a major concern for many of our high-ranked players. So far, we have actioned over 50,000 accounts that we found to be cheating since the launch of Overwatch 2. Along with taking action against cheaters, we want to discourage any incentive to take advantage of cheating, including grouping up with anyone who uses cheats and hacks. Starting in season 3, we’ll be identifying players who willingly group up regularly with those flagged for cheating, and they will also face account action, even if they are not using cheats themselves.
Players who knowingly group up with cheaters are looking to take the same advantage as those who use cheats themselves, including boosting their accounts to skill levels they would not normally belong in with their own skill. Doing so creates unfair and imbalanced matches for many in our community and does not live up to our core value of Play Nice, Play Fair. While those who directly cheat are often permanently banned immediately, we will be issuing severe suspensions for extended amounts of time, and in extreme cases, outright bans, to those grouping up with known cheaters.
Remember to Report
We would like to conclude with a reminder to all of our community that your reports matter. Remember that we are more likely to take action on disruptive players when you see it in your games and take the time to report them. This helps us make Overwatch 2 a fun and enjoyable gaming experience for everyone. We also want to acknowledge that reporting on console platforms is a complicated experience, and have plans to work on improving the user interface for console players to be more intuitive.