Following fan outcry, Blizzard has now tweaked the SMS Protect policy for Overwatch 2.
As per the Blizzard forums, brand new players and accounts who’ve not connected their account to Battle.net will still need to provide a phone number.
However, those who’ve previously connected their accounts to Battle.net, which includes anyone who’s played Overwatch since June 9, 2021, will no longer be required to provide a phone number to play.
The change will go into effect from Friday, October 7.
ORIGINAL STORY FOLLOWS: Blizzard has caused something of a ruckus in the Overwatch 2 community before the game has even launched thanks to the SMS Protect policy.
This new policy is part of the upcoming game’s Defense Matrix Initiative, and requires all people who intend to play Overwatch 2 to attach their phone number to their Battle.net account in order to play from October 4, 2022.
The requirement applies to both new accounts and those who have a previous boxed version of the original Overwatch game.
The same number also can’t be used on multiple accounts at the same time, and the same number can’t be used to make multiple new accounts either. Certain types of numbers – such as pre-paid and VOIP – also cannot be used.
It seems as though the move means some players won’t be able to play Overwatch 2 when it launches next week as a result.
Some of the concerns these players have raised are issues of security of letting Activision Blizzard have their phone number. Others still are also saying they’ve never been able to add a number to their account due to their network.
For their part, Blizzard say the “additional layer of security is an industry-proven solution in combating both cheating and disruptive behaviour”.
“The security of your account is important,” they add. “And SMS Protect helps verify ownership of your account in the unforeseen event of an account compromise. Similarly, if a disruptive player has been suspended or banned, SMS Protect makes it more difficult for them to return to the game.”
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