Cross-platform play has become quite common among multiplayer titles these days. As long as a game is available on multiple platforms, audiences are expecting developers to add cross-play to the game.
Surprisingly enough, one of the most popular hero shooters in the world, Overwatch, still don't have cross-platform play, even though it was first launched in 2016. Well, that is, until now.
After years of asking for Blizzard to implement the feature, fans are finally getting an answer to their prayers. Blizzard just announced that it is going to add cross-play to Overwatch. However, to make sure that cross-platform play works properly on its popular hero shooter, Blizzard is going to run a beta period first. This way, the studio has time to work out the kinks before the full launch of the feature.
When Will the Overwatch Cross-Platform Play Beta Start?
According to Blizzard, the beta period for crossplay on Overwatch will start soon. However, the studio failed to provide an exact release date.
If it's any consolation, the cross-play beta will be available on all platforms at launch. This includes both PlayStation and Xbox consoles, as well as the Nintendo Switch, and the PC. Unfortunately, cross-progression will not available at launch. In addition to this, cross-play matchmaking will be implemented differently based on the game mode that you choose.
If you're confused, don't be. We're here to help.
Basically, what will happen during the beta period is that console players will be matched with other console players by default. Meanwhile, PC players will be matched with both opponents on the PC, as well as groups composed of both console and PC players.
Blizzard also provided a list of examples from its latest video:
- Console players with cross-play enable can join a quick-play match solo and will be matched with other players regardless of the console but not with and/or against players on the PC.
- A console player can form a party with friends from all platforms. The said party will be placed in the same matchmaking pool as PC players. This means that they will be matched with other PC players, and parties of similar composition.
- If you disable cross-play, you'll only be matched with players with the same platform.
- Disabling cross-play is not available on the PC.
What's Next for Overwatch?
Blizzard isn't exactly a studio known for conforming to norms. However, for Blizzard to release such a big update with most of the fandom waiting for more news about Overwatch 2 seems odd if not worrying.
On one hand, adding cross-play to Overwatch means that Blizzard probably wants the feature to be available on Overwatch 2 as well. If things go well in Overwatch, then Blizzard will have an even more incentive to make Overwatch 2 cross-play. The only problem is that Overwatch 2 doesn't have a release date yet. At this point, most fans know not to expect the game to release anytime soon.
Considering that Blizzard didn't really show much of Overwatch 2 in the recent reveal, one might wonder if Blizzard's decision to enable cross-play on Blizzard might be its way of softening the proverbial blow.
Here's to hoping that this doesn't come before an unfortunate Overwatch 2 delay announcement.