Overwatch launched in 2016, but it’s getting a significant feature update today. Blizzard Entertainment has launched cross-play in beta and it’ll let PC and console gamers play in matches together. Until now, the communities on PC, Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch were segmented, but this update should make it easier to find online matches to join, whether it’s with your friends or with random players. Some of the most popular online titles feature cross-play support, like Fortnite and Call of Duty Warzone, and it bodes well that this feature may be supported earlier on in the game’s upcoming sequel, Overwatch 2.
Cross-play is a welcome, if overdue, feature to have in Overwatch, but it might not be all that you’re hoping for. The update doesn’t enable cross-progression between multiple copies of the game that you might own. So, your collection of skins and XP level on, say, Nintendo Switch, won’t carry over to other platforms and vice versa. Though, that might not be the case in the future. In a recent Reddit AMA, Overwatch technical director John Lafleur said “given the additional complexities of cross-progression, it would probably make most sense to tackle cross-play, first and then explore progression as a potential add-on, if we go this route.”
Blizzard says that in order to jump into the cross-play beta, you’ll need to make a Battle.net account, if you haven’t already (it’s been a requirement for PC players, but it has been optional on console). You’ll then need to link your respective console account to Battle.net within your account settings. Doing this will allow you to play with friends you have added on Battle.net instead of friends that exist within your console’s own friends list.
If you get a Battle.net account and log into Overwatch by the end of 2021, you’ll receive a “golden” loot box, which guarantees a legendary-tier in-game item.