Overwatch accounts connected to Battle.net no longer need a linked phone number cover image

Overwatch accounts connected to Battle.net no longer need a linked phone number

Players can now breathe a sigh of relief. But some players still need a phone number

After facing massive backlash over its requirement of a phone number to play Overwatch, Blizzard taken a step back. In a blogpost today, Blizzard has decided to remove phone number requirements for a majority of Overwatch players. 

Any Overwatch player with a connected Battle.net account, which includes all players who have played since June 9, 2021, will not have to provide a phone number to play. We are working to make this change and expect it to go live on Friday, October 7.

Which players need to have linked phone numbers in Overwatch?

  • New players 
  • Accounts that were not connected to Battle.net

New players signing up for Overwatch 2 will have to link their phone numbers to battle.net. Since Overwatch 2 requires a battle.net account to play, a phone number is a necessity for new players. Console players migrating to Overwatch 2 will also have to provide a phone number.

Activision Blizzard had necessitated a phone number to be linked to the Overwatch account in order to allow access to battle.net. However, while all postpaid US phones worked, some prepaid phones were not accepted. This led to quite a few upset members of the community, some of whom have had thousands of hours played in Overwatch being unable to try the free-to-play Overwatch 2

As a temporary solution, Blizzard has removed the requirement for now. One of the reasons for the SMS protect was to combat disruptive behavior in Overwatch 2. 

We remain committed to combating disruptive behavior in Overwatch 2—accounts that were not connected to Battle.net as well as new accounts will still have to meet SMS Protect requirements, which helps to ensure we’re protecting our community against cheating. If a player is caught engaging in disruptive behavior, their account may be banned whether they have a new account or not.

The phone number requirement created problems for a section of the community. Many users who were on some of the blacklisted carriers could not access Overwatch 2. 

The October 6 update also addresses several other problems including server stability issues and problems with account merging. The initial days were saw multiple DDOS attacks preventing users from enjoying Overwatch with their friends. Many users also reported problems with Watchpoint packs missing, despite having paid over $40 for the early access.