You can now play Overwatch on PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch with your friends thanks to the debut of the Overwatch Cross-Play Beta, but you'll have to wait a little longer for Cross-Progression.
Overwatch is available to play on PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch, but none of these platforms were able to play with the others. Players have wanted the ability to play with their friends on other platforms for years; now, that time has finally arrived with the debut of the Overwatch Cross-Play Beta! (Just don't get your hopes up for Cross-Progression just yet.)
How Does the Overwatch Cross-Play Beta Work?
Thanks to a recent Battle.net update, the Overwatch Cross-Play Beta is now live according to a news post on the game's official website.
PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch players will have to create a Battle.net account before they can make use of this new Cross-Play feature; PC players can skip this step as they already have a Battle.net account. Next, console players have to launch the game on their system and enter an alphanumeric code or QR code to link your Battle.net account with your game.
There's one important point to mention here: all console players must create a Battle.net account to continue playing Overwatch, regardless of whether or not they want to use the Cross-Play feature. There's a good reason to do it, though — everyone will receive one Golden Loot Box (which guarantees items you have not yet unlocked, including the guarantee of at least one Legendary Item) on every platform they own Overwatch.
Is There Overwatch Cross-Progression?
Unfortunately, the launch of the Overwatch Cross-Play Beta does not include the launch of Overwatch Cross-Progression. That said, Blizzard is working on it and we'll hopefully see this feature debut in a later update.
"Cross-Progression will not be available at launch," explained Overwatch Game Director Aaron Keller in today's Developer Update. "We understand that this feature is important for some of you and it's something that the Overwatch team is excited to work on in the future."
Can PC and Console Players Play Overwatch Together?
Yes, console players using controllers and PC players using keyboard and mouse can play together, but there are going to be some limitations on this during the Overwatch Cross-Play Beta.
Cross-Play will be available for all game modes with the exception of Competitive Play. Competitive Play will be split into two pools: PC players and console players. Here's a quick rundown:
- Overwatch PC players:
- can play everything except Competitive Play with console players
- will be in the "PC" matchmaking pool
- will have its own Competitive Play matchmaking pool
- Overwatch console players:
- can play everything except Competitive Play with PC players
- will be in the "console" matchmaking pool
- will have its own Competitive Play matchmaking pool consisting of all console platforms
- will have Aim Assist turned off when playing in the PC matchmaking pool
- will have Aim Assist turned on when playing in the console matchmaking pool
Naturally, you'll be able to disable the Overwatch Cross-Play Beta if you prefer to stick to your own platform. Blizzard says that it will continue to work on Cross-Play in response to real-world data and community feedback; you can read today's news post for all of the details and a F.A.Q.
Also Announced: Overwatch 2 Dynamic Weather and Lighting
The launch of the Overwatch Cross-Play Beta isn't the only news for the franchise — the Overwatch 2 developers have revealed a new dynamic weather and lighting system called "Environment States."
Simply put, Environment States track the geometry and lighting of a map in such a way that it allows the Overwatch 2 team to adjust it however they like. That removes the need for separate "day" or "night" versions of some maps; now, they can fine-tune the weather and lighting however they like.
Environment States are even more impressive than that, though — these can be adjusted on the fly and in real-time. Suppose that you are playing a PvE mission — a sandstorm could suddenly appear after you've reached a certain point in the map, changing the lighting and weather right before your eyes. You can read more about Environment States in this news post.
Things are certainly looking up for the franchise between the launch of the Overwatch Cross-Play Beta and the reveal of Overwatch 2 Environment States. If you haven't yet jumped into this great team shooter, you can buy Overwatch for PC and consoles starting at $19.99 or your regional equivalent.
What do you think of the Overwatch Cross-Play Beta? When do you think we'll actually be able to play Overwatch 2? Let us know in the comments below!