To prepare for Overwatch 2’s launch, Blizzard Entertainment has announced the Defense Matrix Initiative. It “encompasses our infrastructure of systems designed to help protect the integrity of gameplay and promote positive behavior.” The initiative’s goals are promoting a positive experience, ensuring competitive integrity, and creating a safer community.
One method is SMS Protect, where players must tie their phone number to their Battle.net account. This is mandatory across all platforms, consoles included, to play the game (even for Overwatch 1 owners. Along with more security in case an account is compromised, it also ensures that disruptive players can’t return easily. Pre-paid and VOIP numbers are also not allowed.
The development team is also employing machine learning to weed out cheating, disruptive text chat ant and bad behavior. It leverages “multiple systems, including your in-game reports, to identify behavior that drives down the quality of the in-game experience.” Audio transcriptions will also be added a few weeks after release, which allows the team to “collect a temporary voice chat recording of a reported player and automatically transcribe it through speech to text programs.”
It is then analyzed for disruptive behavior with the audio file deleted after transcribing. The text files are deleted within 30 days of the transcription. No voice chat data is stored long-term. Furthermore, the team emphasizes that “Your reports matter—player reporting is one of the most effective methods for identifying and actioning disruptive behavior as quickly as possible.”
Overwatch 2 is out on October 4th for Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, PS5, PC, and Nintendo Switch. Stay tuned for more details on how new players are being introduced to the game.