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It looks like Blizzard has another hit on its hands.
The open beta for its team-based shooter Overwatch — which lasted from May 5 to May 10 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC — attracted 9.7 million players. That’s a lot. Blizzard is calling it its most successful beta ever. If even a fraction of those people buy the full game when it launches on May 24, Overwatch will quickly become a success.
“We’re thrilled that such an incredible number of players from around the globe got a chance to check out Overwatch during the open beta,” said Mike Morhaime, the chief executive officer and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment, noted in a press release. “Our mission was to make sure as many console and PC gamers as possible could experience the full game ahead of its launch — the response was overwhelming, and we hope that everyone had a blast.”
Betas are supposed to help developers find bugs and balance a game before launch, but open betas (which anyone can participate in for free) also act as glorified demos that can generate buzz. And, if we’re going by these numbers (and, uh, other indicators), it looks like Overwatch has a ton of buzz.
Overwatch is Blizzard’s first new intellectual property in decades. For a long time, the company has depended on Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo. Still, much as with entertainment companies like Pixar or Marvel, Blizzard itself has become a trusted brand to gamers. Any new game from the company was likely to garner a lot of attention. Still, almost 10 million players during a few days is a sign that Overwatch could become a huge deal.
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