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Former Blizzard lead blames Bobby Kotick for Overwatch 2’s Steam launch

The community team reportedly had no support from Blizzard

Former Blizzard community lead Andy Belford says the disastrous Overwatch 2 Steam launch was, in part, Bobby Kotick’s fault. Bedford posted his experience on Twitter following Kotick’s departure from the company at the end of 2023 and said the multiplayer game's community team warned management of negative fan reactions and toxic conditions for moderators – but received no support in return.

“Breaking my silence to share a fun fact,” Belford, who no longer works for Blizzard, said on Twitter. “When we planned OW2’s steam launch, my team warned (months in advance) that we’re going to be review bombed. We begged for more information, more details, and more resources to help us with the anticipated influx, all flatly denied.”

Belford and his team were well-positioned to know how fans would react. Overwatch 2 faced severe, not always warranted, criticism from the moment it launched in 2022, as fans lashed out over changes to the multiplayer game’s structure, its – sometimes predatory – monetization policies, and the scrapping of promised features, such as PvE. 

More information and support from Blizzard probably wouldn’t have changed fan reactions. However, it might have made the process less stressful for the team and given them tools to balance the situation more effectively, instead of having to struggle with floods of negative reviews while they watched what should've been a positive situation fall apart.

Belford said his community team wasn’t even supposed to handle Steam moderation, even after he warned management that it would have severe, negative effects on his team. The decision to launch on Steam and to provide no other support to the community team came from Kotick, a practice Belford said was common at the company.

“At the end of everything, player experience/worker meant nothing to CSuite and exec leadership,” Belford said. “It was all about that quarter's earnings call.”