Overwatch 2 is removing the phone number requirement for a large batch of its player base, but it seems like there’s a catch in place to this side-stepping of the SMS Protect service. Specifically, players currently need to own a text-enabled mobile phone in order to play Blizzard’s latest flagship release, which is said to be in place to better protect the community from cheaters and other malicious elements.
The issue with Overwatch 2‘s SMS Protect service, however, is that it does not support prepaid phone plans nor VoIP numbers, and users cannot rely on iMessage and WhatsApp to complete this part of the activation process, either. This led to widespread criticism from players whose mobile devices might not support the specific SMS protection implementation that Blizzard has envisioned for the game.
Now, however, Blizzard has announced that a substantial number of previous Overwatch players won’t need to activate SMS Protect in Overwatch 2 at all. Namely, Blizzard has announced that it’s going to remove the phone number requirement for any existing Overwatch player with a connected Battle.net account. Specifically, this means that anybody who’s played Overwatch before June 9 will no longer need to use SMS Protect to access Overwatch 2 services, according to Blizzard, with the change going live on Friday, October 7.
The game’s implementation of SMS Protect was a major issue for Overwatch 2, as not only did many players not fit its requirements, but it also doesn’t seem to have worked in some instances, not allowing players access to a game they had been hoping to play. The catch, of course, is that new accounts will still need to use SMS Protect in its current state, which may put off some players from jumping into the fray.
Blizzard seems to be very reactive and on top of most of the ongoing problems that are plaguing its latest release. This alertness is understandable, however, as Overwatch 2 launched to a DDoS attack, which left a sour taste for many players attempting to have some fun with the game, as most of its functionality was outright inaccessible. Combined with SMS Protect’s strict requirements and a variety of other problems, the first impressions may not have been all that great.
Since Overwatch 2 replaced the original Overwatch, changing various progression nuances and the gameplay loop along the way, those who enjoyed the first game but don’t like the new one find themselves in a weird position. Some of Overwatch 2‘s biggest changes from Overwatch mean that, for example, entire game modes and characters’ skill kits have been replaced. With issues such as SMS Protect getting mostly resolved, however, players should at least have a better experience when attempting to play the game to see if it’s a good fit.
Overwatch 2 is now available on PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.