Overwatch 2 has brought the hammer down on 100,000 cheaters since launch

Overwatch 2
(Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Overwatch 2 developer Blizzard has revealed that it has punished over 100,000 cheaters since the game launched in October 2022.
  • Additionally, the studio has also begun banning players that intentionally group up with cheaters. This has resulted in "substantial account actions every week."
  • Blizzard also wants to remind players that using Lifeweaver's abilities to disrupt allies when he's added to Competitive next week isn't allowed, though the developer does note that folks should remember to distinguish mistakes from sabotage.
  • In the future, Blizzard also plans to improve its streamer protection so that it's harder for bad faith actors to "stream snipe" content creators and ruin their matches.

When Overwatch 2 released back in October of last year, many fans were concerned that the game's move to free-to-play would result in a massive influx of hackers. To address both this and concerns about in-game toxicity, developer Blizzard introduced the Defense Matrix Initiative, an ongoing multi-pronged strategy to ensure a fair and inclusive experience for all players.

Aside from an update in late November in which the studio outlined its plan to use machine-learning to identify disruptive in-game voice chat, Blizzard hasn't shared much about the initiative since its addition. However, in a new Defense Matrix Initiative blog post, the developers revealed that action has been taken against over 100,000 cheaters since Overwatch 2 became available.

"Since the launch of Overwatch 2, we've penalized over 100,000 accounts worldwide that were found to be using a variety of cheats, including 'aimbots' and 'wallhacks,' wrote Blizzard in the article. "In most cases, these accounts have been permanently banned."

So far, it seems like the Defense Matrix Initiative has been effective at stopping bad faith actors. (Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

The post also mentions that the developers have begun to punish users that intentionally group up with people using hacks, with the new policy resulting in "substantial account actions every week." Historically, this has been how many players have benefited from the power of cheats without putting their own account at risk.

With Overwatch 2's new hero Lifeweaver entering ranked Competitive Play next week, Blizzard also warned players that using abilities like his controversial Life Grip to disrupt allies isn't acceptable. However, the developer also stressed that mistakes aren't the same thing as sabotage, and that fans should be "patient and kind" as the community learns how to play the hero. 

Additionally, the studio also confirmed that improvements to the game's streamer protection feature are coming, as Blizzard is aiming to explore the possibility of letting players hide their BattleTag from other people in their matches. This should make it harder for players that intentionally try to ruin games that content creators are in to identify their presence.

Windows Central's take

Player concerns about rampant cheating in Overwatch 2 were definitely valid, as hacking has often been a huge problem in other free-to-play shooters like Halo Infinite and PUBG. However, speaking as someone that's played the game quite a bit since it launched, I haven't noticed a single cheater in Overwatch 2, and I generally don't see many people complaining about them either.

Whatever Blizzard is doing with the Defense Matrix Initiative seems to be working quite well, and hopefully its success continues throughout the months and years to come. Cheating is a problem that will never go away completely, of course, but staying on top of it like Blizzard has significantly reduces how much it disrupts everyone's matches.

Overwatch 2 is one of the best Xbox games on the market for fans of multiplayer shooters, and it's available now on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Windows PC, PS5, and PS4. Overwatch 2 Season 4 is live, too, bringing both Lifeweaver and its new Battle Pass to players. If you're a new player and want a head start on progression, consider getting the updated Ultimate Battle Pass Bundle. It includes Premium Battle Pass access, 20 instant Battle Pass levels, 2,000 Overwatch coins, and several Starwatch skins.


Overwatch 2: Ultimate Battle Pass Bundle

The $30 Overwatch 2: Ultimate Battle Pass Pack offers fans a variety of benefits that will allow them to get guaranteed access to a Premium Battle Pass track, 20 Battle Pass levels, 2,000 Overwatch Coins, and during Season 4, Starwatch skins.

See at Microsoft | See at Battle.net

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.