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Overwatch celebrates second anniversary with 40 million player milestone

Continued success may be buoyed by Overwatch League popularity, improved community management tools

Two years after launch, Overwatch continues to draw new players to its peppy, competitive universe. In a Developer Update video today, game director Jeff Kaplan revealed that the game hit the 40 million player milestone in time for the game's anniversary celebration.

That 40 million player benchmark is up 5 million players from the last tally of 35 million in October 2017, which in turn was up 5 million from April 2017. The game's growth has certainly slowed since its explosive first year, and unfortunately, there isn't a further breakdown of what exactly those numbers mean in terms of active playerbase or what platform they're from.

One possible source of continual new and renewed interest in the game could be Blizzard's esports endeavor, Overwatch League, which drew 10 million viewers worldwide in its first week back in January.

With five million new players appearing in the last seven months, Blizzard intends to keep both them and veteran players busy with regular updates. The Overwatch second anniversary event will introduce a new game mode and skins, and Blizzard has stayed on top of yearly rollouts of other additions such as new maps or characters.

There's also been a strong push to cut down on player toxicity through improved reporting tools, a warning system, and moderation of Twitch and YouTube channels where toxic behavior has been publicized.

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Rebekah Valentine avatar

Rebekah Valentine

Senior Staff Writer

Rebekah arrived at GamesIndustry in 2018 after four years of freelance writing and editing across multiple gaming and tech sites. When she's not recreating video game foods in a real life kitchen, she's happily imagining herself as an Animal Crossing character.