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    An Overwatch hero in action

    Is Overwatch dead in 2021: how many people play Overwatch?
    Last updated: April 17, 2021

    Featured image © Xbox

    Overwatch became a sensation immediately after the initial release in 2016. The team-based multiplayer first-person hero shooter video game used to be one of the most beloved franchises for gamers all over the world. Is that still true and is Overwatch dead in 2021? How many people play Overwatch these days and is the Overwatch player count at all worth our attention? We’ll find out today!

    The team of TechACake.com loves Overwatch and we decided to dig deep and provide our readers with the latest and greatest Overwatch stats of 2021 and back. Today, we’ll have a look at the latest Overwatch player count 2021 as well as some stats from the recent years so you have the full picture. At the end, we’ll compare Valorant vs Overwatch, we’ll share everything that we know about the highly anticipated Overwatch 2, and we’ll recommend four games like Overwatch to play in 2021. Does that sound like a good plan? Excellent! Let’s get started:

    Overwatch player count 2021

    How big is Overwatch in 2021? The developers and publishers Blizzard Entertainment claim that the Overwatch player count is still going strong. The game came out in May 2016 and in 2021 we’re already looking forward to the second installment - Overwatch 2 (but more on that later). Now, we start with the Overwatch player count 2021:

    1. Around 700,000 people play Overwatch concurrently in April 2021.

    (Source: Playercounter) 

    The epic competitive play of Overwatch made this game one of the most popular video games of all time. The Overwatch active player count 2021 is between 600,000 and 700,000 players in 2021. Let’s compare this number to another game legend just so we know where the game stands. According to the latest CS:GO player count, more than 1 million people play the game concurrently on Steam in 2021. Cool!

    2. In April 2021, Overwatch ranks #29 on Twitch.

    (Source: Twitch Tracker)  

    Is Overwatch in the top games on Twitch? The rankings of Overwatch on the video game live-streaming service Twitch have dropped significantly in the recent years. However, the game is still in the Twitch top 30 most popular games among viewers all over the world. (Scroll down to stats #7 and #13 for more details about Overwatch on Twitch.) In Q1 2021, there was an average of 18,000 concurrent Overwatch viewers and 13 million hours watched on Twitch.

    3. In April 2021, most Overwatch players come from the US and Russia.

    (Source: Playercounter) 

    Overwatch fans come from all over the world. Of course, the country with the highest number of Overwatch players in 2021 is the United States - 25% of the total. Another 8.11% come from Russia, 7.09% - from Brazil, 5.41% - from the United Kingdom, and 5.3% - from Germany.

    4. The Overwatch League 2021 started on April 16. 

    (Source: The Verge)

    We decided to include this piece of news early on because it’s so awesome! The biggest global Overwatch tournament is the Overwatch League. In 2020, most esports tournaments were held remotely because of the global pandemic. However, the fourth season of the Overwatch League features multiple live events in China which will comply with local safety requirements. 

    Image © Overwatch  

    How many people play Overwatch?

    Now that we’ve seen the state of the latest Overwatch player count in 2021, let’s have a good look at some Overwatch stats from recent years. How many people have played the game in total? How popular was the hero shooter game in the last years? We’ll answer all those questions and more. We start with a big one:

    5. In 2020, Overwatch hit the 50 million players milestone.

    (Source: Gamespot)

    In Q1 2020, more than 50 million people had already played Overwatch worldwide. At that time, Blizzard Entertainment had already started working on the next installment of the game - Overwatch 2, but they were affected by the coronavirus pandemic and the development was delayed. The frequency of releasing Overwatch updates also slowed down in recent months because of the global lockdown. 

    6. In Q3 2020, more than 10 million people played Overwatch. 

    (Source: Activision Blizzard)

    Four years after the release of Overwatch, the game still has a large fanbase. Despite the lack of consistent content releases, the game still attracts a large crowd. Is Overwatch dead? Think again.

    7. In November 2020, people watched 12.08 million hours of Overwatch gameplay on Twitch.

    (Source: Statista)

    The peak number of Overwatch players in the last two years came in August 2019 when people watched 35 million hours of Overwatch gameplay on Twitch. What happened then? Well, Overwatch Season 17 was just ending and there were several Overwatch retail patch notes published at that time. However, after that peak the Overwatch viewer count dropped significantly after that. 

    8. A total of 40 million gamers played Overwatch in May 2018. 

    (Source: Statista)

    The number of Overwatch concurrent players was on the rise for several years. The game was initially released on May 3, 2016 and it attracted around 7 million players in a week. We can compare it with another giant from the video game industry - GTA 5, which made the amazing $1 billion in sales in the first three days after the release. 

    Overwatch stats, facts & revenue

    Now, let’s have a moment to look at the money Overwatch has made after the release. How much money do Overwatch professional esports players win on tournaments and how well are the creators of the franchise doing financially nowadays? Let’s get started:

    9. San Francisco Shock was the winning team of the Overwatch League Grand Finals 2020.

    (Source: Overwatch League)

    The Overwatch League Grand Finals 2020 took place on October 10, 2020. The final game in the 2020 Overwatch League playoffs was between the teams San Francisco Shock and Seoul Dynasty. The winning team received $1.15 million from the total $2.25 million prize pool for this Overwatch tournament.

    10. Overwatch made $1 billion in the first year after the release. 

    (Source: PCGamer)

    The game has been critically and financially successful from the start. The Overwatch development budget is rumored to have been around $600 million and every year players spend around $1 billion for in-game purchases. So, a project which was believed to be unsuccessful before the launch turned out to be one of the greatest achievements in the video game industry of the decade.

    The yearly revenue of Activision Blizzard for 2020 amounted to the staggering $1.9 billion. This included the combined revenue from the popular video game franchises World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Overwatch.

    11. In 2020, the global cumulative Overwatch tournament prize pool amounted to $5.06 million.

    (Source: Statista)

    According to the 2020 global esports market report, Overwatch has one of the highest tournament prize pools in the video game industry. The game is among the top 10 video games with the biggest prizes and fanbases. And if $5 millions sounds a lot to you, how about Dota 2? The cumulative prize pool for Dota 2 tournaments in 2020 amounted to the staggering $35 million. 

    12. Back in 2019, 54% of the global Overwatch fan base were players only.

    (Source: Statista)

    It turns out that Overwatch is so irresistible that the majority of the fanbase wants in. According to the 2019 Overwatch stats, less than 15% of the total fanbase are viewers only. And the percentage of people who play and view Overwatch gameplay was 32% back in 2019.

    13. In January 2018, Overwatch ranked #3 on Twitch. 

    (Source: Newzoo)

    Overwatch used to be at the top of the charts from the release until a couple of years back. In 2021, the Overwatch players count is still impressive but not at all what it used to be. Did you know that in May 2016, two of the most popular games by Blizzard - Hearthstone and Overwatch, used to be in the top 5 video games for PC in the world. The chart was based on the number of unique game sessions in North America and Europe. The other three games in the top 5 at the time were League of Legends, Minecraft, and CS:GO.

    14. There are 32 playable Overwatch characters in 2021. 

    (Source: Overwatch Fandom)

    The large roster of characters of Overwatch has raised many debates over the years. When the game was initially released back in 2016, the number of Overwatch heroes used to be 21. Each year after that, the developers included 2-3 new heroes but there hasn’t been a new one since early 2020. The latest Overwatch hero added to the game is Echo - the beautiful multirole adaptive robot joined the list of Overwatch heroes in April 2020.

    Image © ESPN  

    Overwatch 2 release date

    The sequel to Overwatch, Overwatch 2 used to be one of the most anticipated video games of 2021. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown the Overwatch 2 release date was postponed for 2022. Overwatch 2 is probably going to be focused on story missions like the first installment and we expect to see new heroes and story lines. What we do know is that Overwatch 2 is still early in development and the release date has not been announced yet. (Fans are starting to wonder if the game is ever going to be released… On the other hand - Diablo 4 is also not happening in 2021. Sadness!) 

    Valorant vs Overwatch vs CS:GO

    As you may know, we love comparing games on our website. We did TF2 vs Overwatch, Destiny 2 vs Warframe, GTA 5 vs Watch Dogs, Apex Legends vs Fortnite, Paladins vs Overwatch, and a battle royale comparison between Realm Royale vs Fortnite. (For the first time though, we’ll have three games compete against each other - what are the differences and similarities between the three contestants?) 

    As you can see, Overwatch is commonly compared to other video games and there’s a reason for that. The game is so popular people want to discover other games like Overwatch in 2021. Is Valorant one of them? Read on and find out.

    As usual, we start with the basics: video game genre, platform, and price. Valorant is one of the best free PC games in 2021 created by the developers of League of Legends - Riot Games. Not unlike Overwatch, it’s not available on Steam. You can play Valorant on Microsoft Windows only. Now, Overwatch on the other hand is still pay-to-play (and the standard edition costs around $20). 

    Overwatch is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Microsoft Windows. As for the multiplayer first-person shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, it’s available on Microsoft Windows, Classic macOS, Linux, as well as Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It’s currently free-to-play and THE most popular game on Steam.

    In terms of visual effects, we need to give a slight edge to Overwatch which features really unique graphics. CS:GO on the other hand features more outdated graphics but that’s not keeping people away at the least. (Valorant is somewhere in the middle between Overwatch and CS:GO in terms of graphics.)

    In terms of gameplay, Valorant is heavily inspired by CS:GO - you enter the game and you plant a bomb, the objective being of course to defeat the other team. The weapons in CS:GO are real-life assault rifles, shotguns, etc. In Valorant the weapons are supposed to be fictional but they do resemble those in CS:GO a lot (a.k.a. real-life weapons). 

    And of course, Overwatch characters and weapons are totally fictional. Does Valorant compare to Overwatch at all? Yes, in contrast to CS:GO, the characters in both Valorant and Overwatch are fictional and they feature ultimate abilities. As you know, the characters in CS:GO are generally divided into two categories - terrorists and counter-terrorists.

    Bottom line: 

    • Valorant is free to play and only available on PC.
    • Overwatch is pay-to-play and available on four platforms.
    • CS:GO is free-to-play and available on PC and two consoles.
    • Both Valorant and Overwatch are not on Steam.
    • Overwatch is the most beautifully designed of the three.
    • Valorant is way closer to CS:GO than to Overwatch in terms of gameplay and weapons.
    • The characters in Overwatch and in Valorant are fictional.

    All right then. Now that we know what is different and similar between the three games, we can move on to our next order of business:

    Games like Overwatch to play in 2021

    If you LOVE the game and want to discover more games like Overwatch in 2021 - you’ve come to the right place. There are many first-person hero shooters and classic FPS games which come to mind, like Titanfall 2, the battle royale Apex Legends, and the old-but-gold CS:GO. However, not every game qualifies to be compared to Overwatch in terms of video game genre and gameplay. Here’s the selection of the absolutely best games like Overwatch we recommend for you in 2021:

    Paladins

    If you’re looking for free games like Overwatch, then Paladins is the best choice in this category. According to the latest Paladins player count, more than 19,000 people played Paladins concurrently in Q1 2021. The game is often referred to as the free Overwatch and their fanbase consisted of around 16 million people in Q4 2020.

    Team Fortress 2

    The grandfather of Overwatch is still going strong. According to the latest Team Fortress 2 player count, the game ranks #8 on Steam in Q1 2021. TF2 might be an old-but-gold game but it’s still one of the most beloved first-person shooter games in 2021.

    Battleborn

    This free-to-play FPS video game features funny characters and a hero shooter gameplay just like Overwatch. Battleborn was released almost at the same time as Overwatch and is currently available on Microsoft Windows, PS4, and Xbox One. Battleborn combines RPG elements with some MOBA influence and offers a unique gaming experience.The game is not at all popular on Steam at all but as of November 2020, more than 1,4 million people have played the game on PS4 only.

    Bleeding Edge

    The multiplayer online combat video game Bleeding Edge came out in March 2020. The game was published by Xbox Game Studios and is currently available only for Xbox One and Microsoft Windows. Many gamers compare it with Overwatch and there is why - the diverse cast of customizable Bleeding Edge characters are quite like the Overwatch heroes which also have dedicated classes (Damage, Support, and Tank). 

    There are SO many video games nowadays you can spend an absolutely awesome time on that it’s hard to decide. Before we wrap things up we’d like to recommend two other games that totally deserve your attention in 2021: 

    Try a pirate game like Sea of Thieves - it’s fun and immersive not to mention beautifully designed. According to the latest Sea of Thieves player count, more than 1,800 people play the game concurrently on Steam in Q1 2021. If you’re up for some maritime adventure to share with your friends or to enjoy on your own, this is a perfect choice! 

    And if you’re looking for a sandbox game with a fighting element - then Valheim is totally for you. It’s new and exciting, not to mention that it broke Steam when the early access release came out in February 2021. During the first month after the Steam debut, the game was already played by 5 million people worldwide. 

    Key takeaways

    Is Overwatch dead in 2021? Not even close. Thousands of people play Overwatch concurrently in 2021. The Overwatch player count has dropped somehow in the years after the initial craze about the game but it’s still one of the most popular games in the video game industry.

    We compared Overwatch to Valorant and the classic CS:GO and we came to the conclusion that Valorant is somewhere in the middle between the two but it’s definitely more like CS:Go in terms of gameplay. If you were looking for more games like Overwatch, we recommended four excellent choices for you to try in 2021.

    Visit TechACake.com for more exciting video game statistics every week!

    Sources

    1. Playercounter 
    2. Twitch Tracker
    3. Playercounter
    4. The Verge
    5. Gamespot
    6. Activision Blizzard
    7. Statista
    8. Statista
    9. Overwatch League
    10. PCGamer
    11. Statista
    12. Statista
    13. Newzoo
    14. Overwatch Fandom