Overwatch cross-play coming to PC and consoles, but there's a catch

It's been just a little over five years since Overwatch launched – its fifth anniversary came at the end of May – and while a lot of fans are probably looking forward to the eventual arrival of Overwatch 2, today we learned that the first game is about to get a big update. Blizzard has confirmed that Overwatch will soon be getting cross-play, which will allow players across PC, Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X to play with and against each other.

This is a pretty big deal for Overwatch, but there are some limitations and requirements that Overwatch players will want to know about before they dive in. For starters, one thing to consider is the fact that while cross-play will be coming to Overwatch, cross-progression won't be, though in a Developer Update published today (which you can see below), Overwatch director Aaron Keller seems to suggest that cross-progression is something the Overwatch team is working on implementing.

When cross-play goes live, console players will need to create a Battle.net account and link it to their console account, regardless of the platform they're playing on. PC players, on the other hand, won't need to do anything since they already have Battle.net accounts. Blizzard has set up a guide for creating and linking a Battle.net account, and on that page there's also a lengthy FAQ regarding cross-play.

Blizzard says that cross-play will be enabled for every mode, though there are some exceptions being made for competitive games. In competitive games, console players will be put into one pool of players, while PC players will be in their own pool. There's a distinction drawn between console and PC players in every other mode as well, however in non-competitive game modes, console players can party with PC players. PC and console players can't group together for competitive modes.

Console players also have the option of opting out of cross-play entirely, in which case they'll only be matched with players on their same console. PC players won't be able to disable cross-play. To celebrate the eventual launch of cross-play, Blizzard is handing out a golden loot box to everyone who logs into Overwatch by the end of 2021. Cross-play doesn't have a precise release date yet, though Blizzard says it should be launching sometime before the end of season 28, which is the current live season in Overwatch. We'll let you know when more is shared, so stay tuned for that.