Blizzard has played a bit coy in the past with how Overwatch's post-launch monetization would work. Starting in December of last year they announced the heroes and maps would be free updates following community questions on the model at BlizzCon, but refused to really say when they'd be adding it or the price ranges for it.
Well, until launch that is as with the servers going live tonight so has Overwatch's microtransactions. Overall they are a very light bunch and are purely cosmetic in nature and are something that you can already earn in game. Each time you level up in the game you get a loot box with up to four cosmetics or in-game currency bits that let you customize how heroes appear and sound. Blizzard's microtransaction system is merely letting you buy more of those cosmetic crates if you so desire.
- 2 for $1.99 / £1.59
- 5 for $4.99 / £3.99
- 11 for $9.99 / £7.99
- 24 for $19.99 / £15.99
- 50 for $39.99 / £31.99
Because of the hero switching nature of Overwatch and the fact that the game encourages you not to 'main' as a character there may be more desire for a wide variety of skins than other games have where people generally only buy skins for the characters they play. Note that in addition to skins this also includes sprays, animations, and voice clips.
If you want to find out more about what they've been saying on Overwatch today look at our coverage of the QnA which brought up the fact competitive mode will be returning most likely in June. Also, check out our launch day tips and our hero countering guide for more preparation!
If you were designing a microtransaction system to be as absolutely benign as possible this is pretty much it. You can earn everything in-game, there are absolutely no power benefits to the purchases and the prices are pretty reasonable. Given that Overwatch will need to maintain servers, updates, development and more this will help fuel that even as sales from the launch level off giving the game the money to keep running without anyone feeling like they must spend a penny more than the door price.
But that's just my take! What do you think of Overwatch's microtransactions? Do you think Blizzard should have been more upfront with them before launch? Share your thoughts in the comments below