Why Some Prepaid Phone Users Can't Play 'Overwatch 2'

Game developer Blizzard is apparently blocking certain prepaid phone users from playing "Overwatch 2," but is there a good reason, and more importantly, a solution? "Overwatch 2" introduced some fresh faces to the fray, but not without also welcoming some questionable changes in the process. Prior to the game's release, players were already worried about how the unlocking of new characters was being implemented. However, it seems like the "Overwatch 2" launch is presenting yet another issue: Blizzard's SMS Protection feature. In Blizzard's pre-launch announcement, it stressed that each player must attach an eligible cellphone number to their Battle.net account in order to activate SMS Protection — a mandatory requirement to play the game.

The problem is, players can only use one phone number per account, and that number should come with a data plan (via Blizzard). Other forms of contact like landline numbers, external messaging apps, and those attached to prepaid plans won't be supported by the feature. Yes, phones on a prepaid budget plan aren't allowed as they might not be compatible with Battle.net's phone notification service. If this requirement has players scratching their heads, then they're not alone; many users are now voicing their discontent with Blizzard's restrictive condition.

'Overwatch 2' is being overprotective

For players wondering why Blizzard's being too pushy with enabling SMS Protect, well apparently, it's for their own protection. Blizzard explained that SMS Protect is "an industry-proven solution" against "cheating and disruptive behavior." This "additional layer of security" is designed to not only help verify ownership of compromised accounts but also prevent banned players from coming back into the game. After all, it's a lot easier to spoof the system with temporary prepaid numbers than with contractually-obligated phones. Of course, that doesn't change the fact that it's excluding prepaid phone users from playing any "Overwatch 2" altogether. This is now causing an outcry on Reddit from the numerous unqualified players who feel like they're being punished and shamed for having a prepaid phone (via Kotaku).

Fortunately for those affected, the resulting backlash may have given the "Overwatch 2" team a change of heart, per its recent blog post. Community Manager Jodie responded saying they're now planning to remove the phone number requirement starting on October 7. However, the change will only apply to existing "Overwatch" players who already have a connected Battle.net account. Players with new accounts, or those who still haven't linked theirs to Battle.net, will still need to fulfill the SMS Protect requirements. Sorry, new players with prepaid phones, it looks like "Overwatch 2" still won't accommodate you, at least for the time being.