Overwatch has been a massively popular game since it launched a year ago. That’s partly because it’s a superbly designed, tightly polished team-based shooter, but also for the incredibly diverse cast of characters that have spawned a huge culture of art, comics, fan-fiction, cosplay, ship wars, and more. Today, Tumblr’s Fandometrics blog quantified just how big the community is that has sprung up around Overwatch. And, unsurprisingly, it’s really big.
How big? According to Amanda Brennan, who runs Fandometrics, in the last 358 days, the #overwatch hashtag on Tumblr has seen “nearly 150 million engagements,” making it the second most used tag on the site. Overwatch on Tumblr, by numbers alone, is more popular than any TV series, movie, actor, character, or even far more generic tags, like #gif or #art.
Overwatch has more or less held the most popular video game rank on the site by Fandometrics’ measure for the last year, with the exception of a few weeks in summer 2016 when it was briefly toppled by Pokémon Go.
A masterclass in franchise development
But the huge numbers of people engaging with Overwatch content speaks to the incredible work in franchise development from Blizzard. Overwatch doesn’t even have a traditional story mode or campaign to tell its characters’ stories. But based on the franchise’s supplemental material (comics, video shorts, and in-game clues), fans have embraced the heroes of Overwatch.
Part of that is due to the balance Blizzard has struck here, giving players a cast of fully fleshed-out characters to play with, but leaving things vague enough that there’s room for fans to tell their own stories.
At any rate, with the steady drip of new content that Blizzard has been doling out for Overwatch, it’s likely that the community will still continue going strong for years to come.