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Blizzard bans third-party 'Overwatch' stats apps

Players were warned not to use services like Visor or Pursuit anymore.
Kris Holt, @krisholt
09.20.18 in AV
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Blizzard has declared that players are not allowed to use certain third-party Overwatch stat-tracking apps. The company said running software such as Visor and Pursuit while playing the game violates the End User License Agreement, and those who continue to use those tools could face permanent bans.

"Recently, we've investigated third-party applications designed for use while playing Overwatch and we'd like to reiterate which of these applications are not permitted in Overwatch," community manager Tom Powers wrote in a forum post. "To provide more clarity, any third-party application that impedes on the competitive integrity in Overwatch is not allowed. For example, a third-party application that offers users information such as enemy position, enemy health, enemy ability usage, or Ultimate readiness creates an uneven playing field for every other player in the map."

While he didn't mention Visor or Pursuit specifically in the post, Blizzard sent an email to players who had used those services. It said that while it won't penalize users' Blizzard or Overwatch accounts for now, "continued use of unauthorized third-party programs will result in action taken against your account, up to and including a permanent ban."

Visor uses artificial intelligence to analyze your gameplay in real time and offers instant feedback while you're playing, such as informing you how quickly your team's healers are dying in fights and predicting when enemies' ultimate abilities may be ready. Pursuit, meanwhile, tracks your stats and takes snapshots while you're playing, and provides you with insights once your match is complete.

Blizzard's decision could impact Overwatch at the professional level. Pursuit, for instance, has partnered with the likes of Overwatch League season one finalist Philadelphia Fusion, Contenders competitor Angry Titans and several World Cup teams. Visor also worked with Overwatch League teams while it was developing its tool. Some figures from the pro Overwatch scene, such as Dallas Fuel and Team Canada coach Justin "Jayne" Conroy, have criticized the ruling.

Visor and Pursuit said on their respective Discord channels that the warnings Blizzard sent to Overwatch players were unexpected. In Pursuit's case, "our partnerships with OWL and World Cup teams involved Blizzard approval." Both companies said they contacted Blizzard, likely in hopes of resolving the situation.

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