Blizzard Entertainment has announced that cross-play, a long-requested feature, is finally coming to Overwatch on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
Although no exact date was given, the update will be “coming soon” via Battle.net, Blizzard’s multiplayer infrastructure. Players on every system will need to create and link a Battle.net account in order to take advantage of cross-play and to celebrate, everyone that logs into Overwatch by the end of 2021 will receive a free Golden Loot Box. While players will finally be able to play with their friends on any system, there are a couple of caveats to the update.
As noted in an Overwatch developer update, some game modes, like competitive, will have special rules for how matchmaking works. “For competitive play specifically you will not be able to play as a party consisting of both console and PC players together. They will each have their own separate matchmaking pools,” says Game Director, Aaron Keller.
The cross-play update will also merge friends from different territories on Battle.net into one list, meaning players won’t need to switch regions to find their friends in other countries. It’s important to note that the cross-play update doesn’t include cross-progression between systems, meaning levels and cosmetics won’t carry over. Blizzard says cross-progression won’t be available “at launch” but they are working on the feature due to fan demand.
The official Overwatch site has an FAQ on cross-play as well as a step-by-step walkthrough on how to link your Battle.net account. Cross-play is coming to all systems the game is available on, including PS5 and Xbox Series X where the game is backward compatible.
Overwatch 2 is currently in development, and while cross-play hasn’t officially been announced for the next game this update to the first game makes it seems very likely. A larger emphasis on PvE content will be introduced in Overwatch 2, along with a host of other additions and changes, including new heroes. Aaron Keller took over as the game’s director earlier this year after long-time director Jeff Kaplan left Blizzard.