• Over 250,000 Overwatch 2 players have been banned in an effort to eliminate cheaters and malicious accounts from the game.
  • The bans were not just for cheating, but also for disruptive chat, inappropriate naming, and griefing issues that impact multiplayer matches.
  • Activision Blizzard is implementing anti-cheat prevention systems and using algorithms to catch cheaters, and the company seems committed to creating a safe and inclusive experience for players.

250,000 Overwatch 2 players have been banned in a push to get rid of cheaters. With Overwatch 2 launching as a free-to-play title, it opened itself up to malicious accounts, and the latest bans have purged the game of many of them.

Overwatch 2 replaced the original when it was released, and it struggles to reach the same peak players. Because its predecessor was a paid game, it had a natural safeguard against a certain volume of cheaters, griefers, hackers, and more. While Overwatch 2 has an End User License Agreement and in-game Code of Conduct, a portion of the community disregards the rules that it agreed to. Despite Overwatch 2 holding an average of 1,570,000 players each day, a quarter of a million players have been banned.

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As part of the Defense Matrix Initiative, Activision Blizzard has banned over 250,000 accounts for cheating. Other Overwatch 2 players have also been banned for disruptive chat, inappropriate naming, and griefing issues that negatively impact multiplayer matches. The affected accounts were found across multiple game modes, not just Overwatch 2 Competitive. According to Activision Blizzard, developers are working on anti-cheat prevention systems to stop the players from returning. Many of these bans were found by the Defense Matrix task force, while others were reported by the Overwatch 2 community.

Beyond the Overwatch 2 player base, developers are also using algorithms fueled by machine learning to catch cheaters. Simply being on the same team as a cheater could get Overwatch 2 players banned as part of these changes. This means that players benefiting from teammates cheating may have been banned by the Defense Matrix Initiative too. Overwatch 2 has removed the unfiltered text chat option, with mature and friendly still selectable. This text chat change was made to limit the number of toxic messages being sent through Overwatch 2. The big Overwatch 2 adjustments were made in alignment with two core Activision Blizzard principles: fair is fun, and fostering a safe and inclusive social experience.

Given that Activision Blizzard’s Ricochet anti-cheat is sometimes circumnavigated by some players, a handful of Overwatch 2 cheaters could’ve snuck through these bans. While Activision Blizzard did an Overwatch 2 cheater purge last year, this is the biggest wave of bans in 2023. Having 250,000 fewer accounts to match with in Overwatch 2 may result in slightly longer queue times, but that is unlikely, and the purge should produce better quality games overall.

Overwatch 2 is available now for PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

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