Blizzard Causes Gamer Anarchy After 21:9 Resolutions Vanish From Overwatch

While the world's leading GPU vendors can't seem to get enough of 4K resolutions, making sure to promote it with the release of each new top-end model in recent years, those who've discovered ultrawide resolutions tend to just not care about it.

The reasons for that can be explained with simple math. At 21:9, ultrawide monitors can increase what you see in a game by just over 30% compared to 16:9 (4K, 1080p, etc) models. That benefit ties into a second one: even the mammoth resolution of 3440x1440 (as is equipped with Acer's incredible Predator X34) has just 2/3rds the pixels of 4K, meaning that you not only see more of your game, it'll perform a lot better, too.

Acer Predator X34 Windows Desktop
Acer's Predator X34 is a class-leading ultrawide monitor

It's for those reasons why a card like NVIDIA's top-dog GeForce GTX 1080 (our review) is more of an "Ultimate Ultrawide Card" rather than an "Ultimate 4K Card", because despite the amount of power it packs, it still can't deliver a guaranteed 60 FPS at 4K with today's games at detail levels serious gamers demand.

Have we sold you on ultrawide yet? Hopefully, but probably not if the primary game in your sights is Blizzard's Overwatch, as the company doesn't seem to appreciate its benefits as much as those who own compatible hardware do.

Overwatch 1

With a recent patch, Blizzard's latest online shooter removed the ability to scale the game to 21:9, along with other exotic aspect ratios that most gamers out there are not using. This has resulted in a huge number of comments being posted to Blizzard's own forums, as well as on reddit. The request is simple - all people want is for another patch to return the functionality. Unfortunately, Blizzard is sticking to its guns.

Many of you have inquired about the lack of certain aspect ratios being supported in Overwatch. The developers have provided the reasoning behind their decision on what to support in the game below.
‘By keeping the aspect ratio fairly limited we were able to allow the artists (primarily UI and animators of first person geometry, but also environment artists) to focus on creating the best experience for the vast majority of the player base. Beyond just framing preferences, currently there is also a lot of stuff that happens just off the edge of the screen which was not intended to be visible.
Taking all of these into account, we decided to limit our aspect ratio to provide a better overall experience that represents the quality bar we would like for the game. However, we are continuing to examine the implications of loosening this limit for a future patch.’

If gamers knew in advance that Blizzard was going to continue denying access to ultrawide resolutions in Overwatch, this exact response could have been predicted. Years ago, when multi-monitor resolutions began to take hold, some game developers issued the same warning: a wider view of a game can give an unfair advantage.

Overwatch 2

With that, and now with ultrawide, many are asking how a wide resolution alone makes anything "unfair", because anyone could go out and purchase an ultrawide monitor if they wanted the same benefits, just as they could go out and purchase a keyboard that offers specific benefits, like macros.

We're willing to bet that most ultrawide fans playing Overwatch are not looking for an advantage, but instead want it to give them in Overwatch what it gives them in all other games: a better experience. There's a reason we gave the Acer Predator X34 one of our coveted Editor's Choice awards. Ultrawide resolution is certifiably HOT, and it's unfortunate that some game developers just don't see it.