Overwatch, Blizzard’s fastest-growing gaming property, has just notched another milestone: 25 million registered players. The company’s official Overwatch Twitter account made the announcement earlier this afternoon. Just last October, the competitive first-person team shooter reached 20 million registered players, the fastest any Blizzard game had achieved that milestone. That means the game has grown 25 percent across PC and console in just three months.
It’s unclear how Blizzard is counting players, and whether this figure is any way indicative of sales, monthly logins, or some other metric. (Blizzard has yet to share Overwatch retail sales or digital in-game item revenue.) Still, its growth is impressive nonetheless, because it is rare for a paid game to achieve this level of popularity in such a short amount of time. Usually, competitive free-to-play games like Riot’s League of Legends attain meteoric growth because they cost nothing to download and play. Overwatch, on the other hand, costs $40 on PC and $60 on consoles.
Helping Blizzard here is its generous decision to consistently release free updates for the game. Those have included two new characters, sniper-healer Ana and offensive hacker Sombra, as well as a series of seasonal events timed to real-world happenings. The most recent one is Overwatch’s ongoing Year of the Rooster. The event, timed to the Chinese New Year, introduced a capture the flag game type, new cosmetic skins for certain characters, and scores of other in-game collectibles. Because these updates are routine and free of charge, more players may be inclined to spend money on the base version of Overwatch many months after release knowing Blizzard won’t be charging extra down the line for downloadable content.