While we can commend Blizzard for trying to combat smurf accounts and players who look to cheat and exploit in Overwatch 2, there is a section of people that just want to play but can not access the game because of the SMS Protect program. The rule is that you must have a post-paid phone number connected to your Battle.net account before you can play the game. This rules out anyone who uses a pre-paid plan. Can you opt out of SMS Protect and still play Overwatch 2?
Can you play Overwatch 2 without setting up SMS Protect?
Blizzard have made an update to their SMS Protect program that allows a large majority of Battle.net accounts to not need to have an active phone number to play Overwatch 2. The only stipulation is you must have a Battle.net account created at some point since June 9, 2021, the day crossplay became active in the original Overwatch requiring console players to make an account. Unless you create a new Battle.net account post Overwatch 2 launch, you do not need to opt-in to SMS Protect.
SMS Protect makes sure that every number only has one Battle.net account connected to it to prevent people from easily creating a new account in the game after they get banned for cheating. It also is used to prevent players from creating smurf accounts that can be used to beat up players on lower levels.
Since the announcement that Overwatch 2 required a phone number to play, many members of the community voiced their displeasure with the situation. If you were a pre-paid phone number user, you were locked out of the game, and with Overwatch 2 replacing the first game, you had no chance to play the game at all, even if you were just trying to be a regular player without using cheats or anything.