Everything you need to know about the Overwatch Cross-Play Beta

We answer all the burning questions from casual and hardcore players alike.

Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Friends from multiple regions and platforms can finally play together now that Overwatch has launched the Cross-Play Beta, a program meant to bring players from all walks of life together.  

Crossplay has been a highly demanded feature in the Overwatch community for years, especially after the game gained popularity on new systems like the PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One. While some players are excited to finally join forces with their console-based allies, many hardcore fans will likely be concerned about how the Cross-Play Beta will affect their game experience.  

Here’s everything you need to know about getting with the program, how you can play with friends across platforms, and whether your competitive experience will be affected.

How it works 

Overwatch PC players won’t have to do anything to join the Cross-Play Beta, but they also have no choice to opt-out of the program.

Console players will have to create a Battle.net account and connect their console Overwatch account to get in on the action. Only console players will have the option to opt-out of the program, but opting in is the default setting upon launch. 

When console players create a Battle.net account, that name or Battletag will then be displayed during console matches—so pick a good one. Things like content progression (like achievements) won’t be carried over during the crossplay setup. Competitive skill rating (SR) won’t be reset and any statistics also won’t be reset. 

As a gift for doing work for the Cross-Play Beta, Overwatch will be giving anyone who completes the Battle.net account connection by Dec. 31, 2021, a Legendary Loot Box, which includes a guaranteed Legendary item. 

Console and PC groups

Console players will likely be looking forward to joining their PC gaming friends in some Overwatch matches for the first time. But there are a few details to keep in mind. 

Console players who join up with friends on PC Overwatch will be placed in the “PC player matchmaking pool,” according to a Cross-Play Beta FAQ. This means they’ll play with other PC players and aim assist will be turned off by default for a fairer gaming experience. PC players won’t be able to join the console “pool” for the same reason.

All game modes are available to these mixed console and PC player groups except competitive mode. Competitive mode will continue to be split into two pools, PC and console, so both of those groups don’t have to worry about new variables in their ranked experience. Mystery Heroes can continue to be a lawless land for players of all platforms.

Competitive mode    

No changes will be made to competitive mode for PC Overwatch players as a result of the Cross-Play Beta. Console players won’t notice any changes until season 29 begins in early July. 

When season 29 begins, console players who have opted into the Cross-Play Beta will then compete with console players from other platforms. For example, PlayStation 5 players will be in the same “competitive pool” as players from Xbox One in season 29. The rest of season 28 will see no changes or cross-console competition.

Console players who opt-out of the Cross-Play Beta will remain in a pool with only players from their own platform. The developers warn that queue times will likely increase for those who opt-out of the program due to a smaller pool of players. 

In season 29, there will be separate leaderboards for PC Overwatch players, console players who have opted into Cross-Play Beta, and console players who have opted out of the program. 

Overwatch League tokens 

Overwatch League tokens that are directly purchased will be “delivered to the system on which the players make their purchase,” according to the FAQ. If you make a purchase on the Nintendo Switch, those tokens will be available on the Switch. 

Overwatch League tokens that are earned by watching league games, however, will be rewarded “at the Battle.net level” and will be available on all linked systems to be spent wherever players please.

The developers said the Cross-Play Beta will likely grow and evolve as the program receives feedback from players, so don’t be too upset if things aren’t perfect quite yet. 

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Liz Richardson
Liz is a freelance writer and editor from Chicago. Her favorite thing is the Overwatch League; her second favorite thing is pretending iced coffee is a meal. She specializes in educational content, patch notes that (actually) make sense, and aggressively supporting Tier 2 Overwatch. When she's not writing, Liz is expressing hot takes on Twitter and making bad life choices at Target.

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