Gaming

Overwatch Cross-Platform Support: What You Need to Know

Since its release in 2015, Overwatch players have been clamoring for cross-platform support. And it’s not hard to understand why. Overwatch is part of the vibrant multiplayer-only shooter genre alongside popular titles like Fortnite, Call of Duty: Warzone, and Paladins: Champions of the Realm, all of which already offer crossplay. Thankfully, the good news is that Blizzard has finally added this highly anticipated feature to Overwatch in preparation for the launch of Overwatch 2.

Is Overwatch Cross-Platform?

Yes, after a long wait, Blizzard has finally introduced crossplay to Overwatch across all platforms. This means that PC, Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch players can now enjoy cross-platform support as part of the matchmaking process.

To take advantage of crossplay, players on console systems will need to create a free Battle.net account. Blizzard encourages console players to sign up by offering a free golden loot box to all those who create a Battle.net account before the end of 2021. By default, crossplay is enabled on both PC and consoles. However, console players have the option to disable it if they prefer. Regardless of whether you choose to use crossplay or not, linking a Battle.net account is still necessary for console players. Please note that PC players do not have the option to disable crossplay.

Though crossplay is now a reality in Overwatch, cross-progression is not yet supported. Unfortunately, this means that your skins, experience, and other unlocks won’t transfer across platforms. However, it’s possible that cross-progression could be added in the future.

How to Enable Crossplay in Overwatch

Crossplay is available in all playlists in Overwatch, except for the competitive mode. To maintain a level playing field, console players will be matched against other console players, while PC players will be matched exclusively with other PC players. However, when a PC player groups up with one or more console players, they will be placed into the PC player matchmaking pool by default.

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To continue playing Overwatch online, console players will need to create or link their Battle.net account, similar to the process in games like Call of Duty: Warzone. Once you’ve completed this step, you’ll be able to see players from other platforms on your Battle.net friends list.

The Keyboard and Mouse Dilemma

Overwatch cross-platform support faces its fair share of challenges, particularly the issue of using a keyboard and mouse on consoles. While Overwatch does support a controller on consoles and a keyboard and mouse on PC, you can’t use this setup on a PS4 or Xbox One. There are expensive adapters available that offer a workaround, but we don’t recommend pursuing this route.

In a forum post, Overwatch Game Director Jeff Kaplan stated that the dev team is against the use of keyboard and mouse on console. Although it’s not an explicit ban, the team’s rationale is clear. Mixing input devices creates an unfair advantage for players using a keyboard and mouse against those using a controller. While other games have opted for crossplay regardless of input device, the Overwatch development team believes this advantage is too significant for their game.

This decision is also influenced by the Overwatch League, where players have honed their skills with specific input devices. Each player generally excels with either a controller or a keyboard and mouse, but not both. Therefore, for fair and consistent comparison of skills across different devices, maintaining consistency in gameplay is crucial. Overwatch has developed a reputation for its dedication to specific playstyles, and ensuring fairness for all players is of utmost importance.

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