Blizzard Entertainment is bringing its PC games to Steam, starting with the release of Overwatch 2 on Valve’s digital storefront on Aug. 10, Blizzard announced Wednesday.
The Windows PC version of Overwatch 2, like many of Blizzard’s PC games, is currently only available through Battle.net. But with Microsoft’s impending acquisition of Activision Blizzard and declining player engagement in the game, the maker of Diablo, Warcraft, and Overwatch appears to be changing its strategy.
Blizzard says it will bring “a selection” of its games to Steam, but did not specify which titles beyond Overwatch 2 will make the jump from Battle.net. (A few classic Blizzard games, including the original Diablo and the first two Warcraft games, are available through GOG.com.)
The acceptance of Steam as a platform for Blizzard’s games is part of the studio’s evolution, the company said in a blog post. “[O]ne of the ideas pushing us forward is meeting players around the world where they are, and making our games as easy as possible to access and play,” the company said. “We want to give everyone a chance to experience our universes with old friends while making new ones, no matter how they choose to play.”
In its announcement, Blizzard said it’s not moving away from Battle.net. But, it explained, “as we’ve evolved, the industry has evolved too — gaming is no longer just for specific communities as it was when Battle.net launched over two decades ago, gaming is for everyone–and though we remain committed to continually investing in and supporting Battle.net, we want to break down the barriers to make it easier for players everywhere to find and enjoy our games.”
“It’s our goal at Blizzard to listen to players and try to exceed their expectations in everything we do,” said Mike Ybarra, president of Blizzard Entertainment, in a statement. “While Battle.net remains a priority for us now and into the future, we’ve heard players want the choice of Steam for a selection of our games, starting with Overwatch 2 [...]. We’re happy to work with Valve to make that happen.”
“Gamers and developers are both going to benefit from Overwatch 2 coming to Steam,” said Gabe Newell, Valve’s president, in a statement. “Gamers will have another platform where they can play a beloved game that utilizes the capabilities of Steam, and developers will benefit from the effects of having the talented team at Blizzard helping us evolve our supported features and functionality for Overwatch 2.”
Overwatch 2, a free-to-play, team-based shooter, “is the perfect title for Blizzard’s debut on the platform,” Blizzard says. Steam’s broad reach — 132 million monthly active users in 2021, according to Valve — will expose many more players to Overwatch 2, which is getting a new season, new hero, new PvE missions, and new core PvP game mode on Aug. 10.
Blizzard says that players on Steam will still need a Battle.net account connected to Overwatch 2 to play the game. The Steam version will support Steam achievements and friends lists, but Blizzard did not announce Steam Deck support. Overwatch 2 can now be wishlisted through Steam.
As for Blizzard’s future plans for other game releases on Steam, the company said it will be “sharing more about potential other games coming to the platform when the time is right.”