Never say never: today Overwatch director Aaron Keller announced the popular team-based hero shooter will add cross-play to both the console and PC versions of the game. There are a few caveats to this, and everyone interested in enabling the new feature will have to create a Battle.net account. Additionally, Keller confirmed Cross-Progression will come to Overwatch later down the line, but it won’t be available when cross-play launches “soon.”
Overwatch Cross-play will feature two different matchmaking pools.
Blizzard posted a full FAQ over on their website (which you can read here) that explains everything we need to know about the cross-play feature coming to Overwatch. The most important take-away from both Keller’s video and the FAQ is the fact that PC and console players will be split into two separate pools, and only console players can move between them.
Simply put, matchmaking will only match console players with other console players, and PC players with other PC players. If a pre-made party consists of both the PC pool will be used. The sole exception to this is the Competitive Mode: players cannot create console/PC hybrid parties in comp.
This means Overwatch players on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and the Nintendo Switch will share the same matchmaking pool with cross-play enabled, and PC players will remain in their own queue. Console players can party up with their PC friends, but as I’ve already mentioned, they will be placed in the PC pool, and their console aim-assist will be disabled.
Competitive will not allow PC and console players to cross over in any capacity. Console players that disable cross-play will match only with players on their specific platform. PC players, on the other hand, cannot disable cross-play whatsoever. To enable cross-play in the first place, Overwatch players will have to link their console to a Battle.net account.
This Battle.net account will be used in lieu of their console’s account for the purposes of matchmaking, friend invites, and voice chat. If you want to link your Battle.net account to your console you can use the guide I wrote for the Switch port here. Fundamentally, it’s the same process on PlayStation and Xbox: create a Battle.net account, then go into the account settings and add your console under the “Connections” tab.
That out of the way: I’m glad to see Blizzard is finally adding cross-play to Overwatch. While some can argue it’s a bit late (and let’s be real, this is to iron-out the kinks for Overwatch 2), it’s appreciated nonetheless. One of the major failings of the otherwise solid Nintendo Switch Overwatch port (my review here) was the lack of cross-play and cross-progression – I wasn’t exactly keen to spend money on loot boxes for crap I already owned elsewhere. Hopefully “soon” means within the next few weeks, but we all know what Soon™ means to Blizzard.
Overwatch is available now on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Nintendo Switch.