Blizzard games will be available on PC outside of the company's Battle.Net launcher when Overwatch 2 releases on Valve's platform next month.
In an announcement today, the developer confirmed that its games would be available on an alternative PC platform for the first time starting from August 10. In a press release, the company suggested that Overwatch 2's free-to-play, team-based format made it the best fit for Blizzard's Steam debut.
Blizzard's PC portfolio has been exclusively available on Battle.Net since the launcher started life in 1996, and the first game that released on the platform was the original Diablo. Since the company's merger with Activision in 2008, a number of that company's games, including various Call of Duty titles and Crash Bandicoot 4, have also released on PC via Battle.Net.
Overwatch 2 will continue to be available via Blizzard's launcher, and Steam players will still need to connect to a Battle.Net account in order to play. There'll be "cross-platform play" (something of a given since we're still just talking about PC), but Steam features, including your friends list, will be available as normal.
"It's our goal at Blizzard to listen to players and try to exceed their expectations in everything we do," said Mike Ybarra, President of Blizzard Entertainment, as part of the announcement. "While Battle.net remains a priority for us now and into the future, we've heard players want the choice of Steam for a selection of our games, starting with Overwatch 2 on August 10th. We're happy to work with Valve to make that happen."
"Gamers and developers are both going to benefit from Overwatch 2 coming to Steam," added Gabe Newell, Valve's president. "Gamers will have another platform where they can play a beloved game that utilizes the capabilities of Steam, and developers will benefit from the effects of having the talented team at Blizzard helping us evolve our supported features and functionality for Overwatch 2."
Blizzard says that it will be "sharing more about potential other games coming to the platform when the time is right." That suggests that there are more releases in the pipeline, although there's no word on what that might be - I doubt we'll see the likes of Diablo 4 in the short term, and I'd imagine World of Warcraft will stay in place as well, but games like Hearthstone, and older titles including Diablo 3, StarCraft, and older Warcraft titles seem like sensible candidates.
Is our list of the best free Steam games about to get a new contender?