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Overwatch 2 phone number requirement now accepts prepaid plans, letting more players in

Blizzard’s SMS Protect now works with fewer restrictions

Junker Queen throws her glowing knife, Gracie, at an offscreen opponent on the map Junkertown in a screenshot from Overwatch 2 Image: Blizzard Entertainment
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Overwatch 2’s SMS Protect requirement – a measure intended to curb toxic and disruptive player behavior — now accommodates mobile phones on a prepaid plan, Blizzard Entertainment announced on Thursday. That means the requirement to connect a account to a mobile number is back for many players of the free-to-play hero shooter.

SMS Protect was disabled for a majority of Overwatch 2 players on Oct. 5 as Blizzard coped with a raft of connectivity problems arising from the highly anticipated game’s launch the day before. Blizzard introduced the phone number requirement as a means to limit free account creation and sanction bad actors without banning them, only to see them return later.

But because SMS Protect would not work with the data plans on prepaid mobile phones, many players found themselves effectively locked out of the new game one week before its launch. Making matters worse, Overwatch 2 replaces the original 2015, whose servers closed on Oct. 3, meaning longtime fans had no access to either game or their progression.

Blizzard then walked back the SMS Protect requirement for existing accounts, while leaving it in place for new accounts or ones that never were connected to the game through

SMS Protect is one tool in a broader approach Blizzard developers call “Defense Matrix,” which is intended “to help protect the integrity of gameplay and promote positive behavior in Overwatch 2.” The game is available now for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

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