Blizzard is taking its first tentative steps away from Battle.net exclusivity, starting with the launch of Overwatch 2 on Steam this August and the promise of more games on the way.
Battle.net has been at the core of Blizzard’s games since its release back in 1996, and the studio’s PC titles have remained exclusively available through the platform in the years since, making it one of the few companies to have entirely snubbed Steam.
That will change on 10th August when Blizzard’s free-to-play shooter sequel Overwatch 2 arrives on Valve’s storefront, where it’ll incorporate native features including Steam Achievements and Steam friends list integration. And perhaps we might even see official Steam Deck support on the way? Blizzard does note, however, that players will still be required to connect the game to a Battle.net account to enable features including cross-platform play.
“As we’ve evolved, the industry has evolved too,” Blizzard explained in a post announcing Overwatch 2’s imminent arrival on Steam. “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.”
“While Battle.net remains a priority for us now and into the future,” Blizzard president Mike Ybarra added in an accompanying statement, “we’ve heard players want the choice of Steam for a selection of our games. We’re happy to work with Valve to make that happen.”
And Overwatch 2 is apparently only the beginning. Blizzard says it has plans to bring a further “selection” of its titles to Steam in the future, and that it’ll be “sharing more about potential other games coming to the platform when the time is right.”