For players wondering why Blizzard’s being too pushy with enabling SMS Protect, well apparently, it’s for their own protection. Blizzard explained that SMS Protect is “an industry-proven solution” against “cheating and disruptive behavior.” This “additional layer of security” is designed to not only help verify ownership of compromised accounts but also prevent banned players from coming back into the game. After all, it’s a lot easier to spoof the system with temporary prepaid numbers than with contractually-obligated phones. Of course, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s excluding prepaid phone users from playing any “Overwatch 2” altogether. This is now causing an outcry on Reddit from the numerous unqualified players who feel like they’re being punished and shamed for having a prepaid phone (via Kotaku).
Fortunately for those affected, the resulting backlash may have given the “Overwatch 2” team a change of heart, per its recent blog post. Community Manager Jodie responded saying they’re now planning to remove the phone number requirement starting on October 7. However, the change will only apply to existing “Overwatch” players who already have a connected Battle.net account. Players with new accounts, or those who still haven’t linked theirs to Battle.net, will still need to fulfill the SMS Protect requirements. Sorry, new players with prepaid phones, it looks like “Overwatch 2” still won’t accommodate you, at least for the time being.