What the world needs now is cross-play, sweet cross-play. It's the only thing that there's just too little of. Luckily, Overwatch is now allowing us all to play games with each other no matter what consoles we have with their new Cross-Play Beta, available to anyone with a Battle.net account.
“When Battle.net first came out, the purpose was to deliver a connected, multiplayer experience for a single title,” says Arron Goolsbey, VP of Platform Engineering for Battle.net. "The internet has come a long way in the last 10 years, enabling global and cross-platform experiences with high levels of quality. So now, Battle.net is evolving once again.”
Beginning today, friends lists from every country (except China) will be merged into one big, happy ecosystem, and soon (but not today), cross-play will let you join matches with anyone, on any platform, which means that now, you can play Overwatch with friends regardless of location or console.
Even the logo has changed to reflect the new times:
“We realized some time ago that our players would be better served by a global Battle.net that did away with the concept of regions,” says Jeff Allison, Lead Product Manager for Battle.net. “But breaking down these barriers was a significant engineering task. Now that we’ve done it, we look forward to a future where all Battle.net players can communicate and game together no matter where they are.”
By default, a party of console players will play with other console players, and PC groups will play with other PC players, or a mix of PC and console players, but these settings can be changed. For Competitive Play, however, there will be separate matchmaking pools and no mixed groups at all. PC players can't disable cross-play, but it sounds like Switch players may be able to.
Additionally, the developers want to make sure that everyone knows that cross-progression — the ability to share your experience, unlocks, and so on across any platforms you own the game on — will not be available at launch. It is, however, something they're hoping to add.
When the feature goes live, anyone who signs up and logs in to Battle.net before the end of the year will receive a golden loot box.
The cross-play beta will be arriving "soon".