Overwatch 2 drops phone number requirement after major backlash - Upcomer
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Blizzard is removing the Overwatch 2 phone number requirement for most existing players, and the change is expected to go live on Oct. 7. This decision comes after a large amount of backlash from gamers who have had issues meeting the requirements.

“We have made the decision to remove phone number requirements for a majority of existing Overwatch players,” the official announcement stated. The announcement also went into the game’s rocky launch emphasized by DDoS attacks.

How to play Overwatch 2 without a phone number

Only players with a connected Battle.net account won’t have to provide a phone number to play the newly-launched game. This includes those who have played since June 9, 2021.

According to Blizzard, the accounts that weren’t connected to Battle.net plus new accounts must still meet the phone number requirement. The SMS Protect feature helps the community fight against cheating and disruptive behaviors.

“Even if you own a previous box version of the original Overwatch, you still need to activate SMS Protect to play Overwatch 2,” Blizzard said in another announcement.

SMS Protect for Overwatch 2 is a part of the Defense Matrix initiative
SMS Protect for Overwatch 2 is a part of the Defense Matrix initiative. | Provided by Blizzard Entertainment

What is SMS Protect for Overwatch 2?

As a part of the Defense Matrix initiative, SMS Protect is used to verify the ownership of a player’s account. This is an extra layer of security that fights cheating and disruptive behaviors. It also protects players from bad actors. If a disruptive individual gets suspended or banned, then the feature makes it harder for them to return to Overwatch 2.

It should also be noted that the same phone number can’t be used on multiple accounts at the same time, according to Blizzard. This means players can’t create a bunch of accounts using the same phone number.

Blizzard also said that a phone number can only be used once when a player is creating a new account. Additionally, certain types of phone numbers, such as pre-paid and VOIP, are not eligible for SMS Protect.

Amy Chen is an esports journalist and enthusiast who specializes in in-depth interviews and breaking news. A University of Toronto and Humber College graduate, she is passionate about building up the Canadian esports industry. Her current favorite games are Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm, and she has always had a soft spot for World of Warcraft!