[Update] Overwatch Beta Returns In February With New Content

by Mike Futter on Jan 24, 2016 at 04:20 AM

Update: The Overwatch beta, originally scheduled to return in January, is being delayed into "mid-Feburary" so that Blizzard can polish it and add new maps and modes to the beta. Game Director Jeff Kaplan broke the news on Overwatch's beta forums:

While progress has been great and the team has been working super hard to get everything implemented on time, we're not quite ready to bring the Closed Beta back online just yet. We’ve been pretty open about the fact that we could slip into February from the beginning, but a big reason for this delay is that we really wanted to add one more big feature to the next beta patch.

After looking through all of the feedback from last year, one of the things we noticed players consistently mentioning was their desire for more game modes in Overwatch, in addition to Point Capture and Payload. Without getting into specifics, we are working on a new game mode. And we’re very excited about it! And we have some great new maps to support it, too, but we need a little more time to get everything just right.

Rather than try to rush a beta patch out this month (which would mean the new game mode would have to be put off), we’re going to take a few extra weeks before bringing the Closed Beta back. By doing so, we can make sure we can include the new game mode along with the new maps. This will also allow us to do some additional polish to the game’s progression and reward system. Though all these features will still technically be a work-in-progress during the beta, we’d like them to be at a certain quality bar before releasing them for testing.

This was an easy choice for us to make, and hopefully this post can help you understand why we made it. I don’t have an exact date for when the Closed Beta will resume, but right now we’re looking at mid-February (and we don’t intend to slip out of February). We’ll do our best to provide at least one week’s notice before we’re ready to get this beta party started again, so definitely keep an eye on our official channels.

We love making this game with you guys. It’s been so much fun and you’ve been incredibly supportive of us. Thank you all so much for your patience and we hope to see you in-game soon!

Source: [Blizzard]

Original Story ( December 3 at 2:37 p.m. Central): If you’re in the Overwatch closed beta, get your fill now. You’ve only got one week before Blizzard closes up shop for the holidays.

Don’t worry, though. This isn’t the end for the Overwatch beta. Blizzard says it will be using the time between December 10 at 9 a.m. Pacific / 12 p.m. Eastern (when it goes offline) and the its return in mid- to late January to respond to feedback, make improvements, and continue work on features like spectating and the progression system.

Anyone currently in the beta will be granted automatic access when it returns. If you haven’t gotten a golden ticket yet, you’ll have another shot in the new year.

For more on Overwatch, check out our hands-on coverage from Blizzcon. Overwatch is coming Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC during Spring 2016.


Our Take
Now that we know Overwatch is a paid title, the extended beta seems both generous and wise. This gives Blizzard a chance to woo players early, tune the game, gather feedback from player feedback and play sessions, and ultimately release a better game. You’ll probably be able to trace the improvements from beta to final release.