Overwatch Monetization

Overwatch is a multiplayer first person shooter with diverse heroes launched by Blizzard in May 2016. It was released for PC, Xbox One and PS4 and was awarded the Game of the Year title of 2016.
If you are not familiar with the game, you can find more information here.

But since you are here, you probably know the game, so let’s jump into its Monetization.

How does Overwatch monetize?

First of all, Overwatch is a traditional model game, with a single time entry price, plus optional micro transactions.

Prices across platforms are the same, costing USD 39,99 for the flat version, USD 59,99 for the origins version (with extra skins and other goodies) and USD79,99 for the collector’s edition with soundtrack, a statue and a book.

font: http://playoverwatch.com/en-us/buy/#collectors
Loot boxes are purchased separately, with cosmetic items not required for gameplay. Prices can be seen on the table below.

Loot Boxes: 
Each Loot box contains 4 items from :

  • Skins
  • Emotes 
  • Voice lines
  • Victory poses
  • Sprays 
  • Highlight Intros
  • Player Icons
  • Gold

For the description of how each item works, I recommend this page.

The items come in 4 rarities :

  • Common (White)
  • Rare (Blue) 
  • Epic (Purple)
  • Legendary (Yellow)

Quantity of items 

As of today, the game has 23 characters, each with 69 collectible items.

(Extra: interesting fan calculation of how many loot boxes are necessary to get all items in an early version of the game).

One of the main concerns when monetizing only on loot boxes/gachas is what happens when players get duplicates. Some games make use of duplicates to level up their own items (like the character cards in Clash Royale), but in Overwatch, this wouldn’t make sense, since the items are only aesthetic.

Their solution to duplicates is to give a small amount of coins, that can be used to purchase other items. This is actually the only way to get coins in the game, except from getting them directly on the loot boxes. 

When I say small, it is relatively small, since each duplicate is worth 20% of its original price. 

This decision makes sense because of they were to give the real amount of coins the duplicate item is worth, they would run out of content really fast.

As a player, the reward seems insignificant, but after getting a lot of levels, you can gather a few hundreds of coins and use them to buy the items you want to have.

Lately they introduced really expensive legendary skins (3000 coins), probably to remove an overflow of coins from the economy and incentivize purchases.

The main strategies for Overwatch Monetization are Customization and Seasonality. 

You get items to customize your character and show them off to your friends and opponents, but some of these items are available only during limited time events.


As of when I’m writing this post, there were 3 events in game: 

– Summer event (making use of the Olympic Games theme)

– Halloween 

– Winter event (making use of end of the year celebrations) 

Each of these events brought new exclusive items for the loot boxes, in addition to new maps, characters and game modes. All of that included on the base price of the game.

This artifice is useful not only for Monetization, but also for engagement since players that have most of the regular items come back for new items and players tend to play more to try to get the exclusive items without paying.

What could be improved

Overwatch is a great game and surely its Monetization strategy works, but there is always place for improvement. 

Gold items rewards

One of the things that can be improved are the tires of the coins rewards given on the loot boxes. 

You can get :

  • 50 coins (Common)
  • 100 (Rare)
  • 150 (Epic)
  • 500 coins (Legendary)

While 50 and 100 coins are good rewards for their tiers (common costs around 25 and rare 75), 150 and 500 are a disappointment when they show up, since epic and legendary items cost around 250 and 1000+ coins respectively. You feel like half of your reward was list in the limbo or that you “wasted your luck” with this useless legendary reward.

They could:

1) Keep epic and legendary rewards with 250 and 1000 coins working as a “joker” reward, so it is always good to get, but with a lower drop rate to compensate, or;

2) Remove the legendary reward and keep the epic as 500, with the same chances of the legendary reward, so it doesn’t unbalance the game, but if you get it is a super good reward, or;

3) Even remove both epic and legendary gold rewards, if they are afraid of content consumption. At least you remove the disappointment.

XP boosters

The game is not free to play, but every gacha can benefit from consumable items. XP boosters could be a good way to give rewards that are useful for starting players that want to level up fast, or for veteran players thriving for the next star. They could be sold in packs on the store or given as a legendary reward on loot boxes. 

It is not a an item that gives gameplay befits (pay to win), but tries to address the lack of useful items (not aesthetic).

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