Players are reporting Overwatch 2 phone number connection issues on Battlenet, causing concern that they will not be able to play the FPS game sequel when the Overwatch 2 release date arrives on October 4. Developer Blizzard has introduced a new initiative named ‘Defense Matrix’ (after the signature ability of its Korean tank hero D.Va), which requires players to activate ‘SMS protection’ on their Battlenet account to play the free game.
Multiple players on the Blizzard forums for Overwatch 2 are reporting that they have been unable to add their phone number to their Battlenet account, being told that the number is ‘already in use.’ In some instances it appears that this is actually working as intended – players who have multiple accounts are finding that they cannot use their phone across multiple separate accounts. Blizzard says that this is intended to discourage smurfing (starting a fresh account to play against lower-rated players than you would face on your main account).
However, other users report that they are simply unable to link their phone, despite having not attached their number to an account previously. Other users report that the SMS code is being sent out but appears to not be arriving on their phone, meaning they are unable to verify it. While Blizzard support may be able to resolve these issues, responses in the comments note that often the response time for support tickets can be seven days or more – meaning that these players might be unable to access Overwatch 2 when it launches in less than a week’s time.
This problem could be even worse for Overwatch newcomers, who may not realise they need to connect a phone number to their account until they start the game for the first time. If a lot of players jump into the free-to-play game at launch then it could potentially exacerbate any issues in the phone verification process.
Some players also query how much of a deterrent phone verification is for smurf accounts. Given the prevalence of smurfing in the first Overwatch, which required users to by a second licence for the game, it seems that simply having to obtain a spare SIM card (which can often be done cheaply or even for free) isn’t a big hill to climb. However, any impediment is likely better than nothing in cases like this – though some players suggest that it might be easier to detect smurfs if they were able to use the same number as their primary account. Only time will tell how efficient Defense Matrix is at combating toxic behaviour and players on smurf accounts.
With Overwatch 2 hoping to re-join the ranks of the best multiplayer games on PC following the gradual fall-off in popularity of its predecessor, any impediments to success could prove a problem. If you’re planning to jump in, here’s everything you need to know about when you can preload Overwatch 2 and server downtime. Blizzard says it hopes to introduce Fortnite style Overwatch 2 collabs in the future; time will tell how unlocking new Overwatch 2 heroes in battle pass progression will go down among players.