Overwatch Isn't Free-To-Play, Coming to Xbox One and PS4

Overwatch Isn't Free-To-Play, Coming to Xbox One and PS4

You can buy Overwatch on Battle.net right now. No, it probably doesn't give you beta access.

Blizzard's Overwatch is in beta right now and with Blizzcon 2015 starting today, we expected we'd probably hear more about the hero-based arena shooter. One thing that's been in the dark since Overwatch was announced was the business model. Most players expected that Overwatch would be free-to-play like Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm, but now we know that's not the case.

The hero skins that come with Origins Edition.

Battle.net now has entries for Overwatch and Overwatch: Origins Edition, coming in at $39.99 and $59.99 respectively. The store item tells us that Overwatch is expected for release on or before June 21, 2015, but Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan revealed onstage that Spring 2016 is the planned launch window. For Blizzard, allowing players to buy into everything Overwatch is a big part of the game.

"Overwatch is about switching heroes," explained Kaplan at Blizzcon. "With that in mind, when you buy Overwatch, you will get all 21 heroes. You'll also get all of the maps and content so far."

Origins Edition is a special limited edition of the game, coming with five hero skins featuring Pharah, Reaper, Tracer, Bastion, and Soldier 76 in their original Overwatch strike force forms. You also gain access to Tracer in Heroes of the Storm, a Baby Winston pet in World of Warcraft, a Hearthstone card back, Mercy's Wings in Diablo III, and Starcraft II in-game portraits featuring Overwatch characters. Pre-purchasing Origins Edition nets you the Noire skin for Widowmaker as well.

On the Blizzcon stage, Blizzard also announced three new heroes for the game, D.Va, Mei, and Genji, all of whom are of Asian descent. There's also a new Hollywood map for the game.

The inclusion of skins mean Blizzard does have an additional way to make money from the game if they so desire, selling additional looks for each of the characters. They've already flexed that muscle with the Widowmaker skin for pre-purchase and the Origins Edition skins. I expect we'll probably see more skins in the future and potentially paid expansions with further maps and game modes.

It's interesting how far we've come when we're surprised that a game isn't free-to-play and we're inevitably waiting for the other shoe to drop. The truth is gamers are used to major publishers trying to wring every dollar out of our wallet. That Blizzard isn't intially going in the route becomes surprising given that status quo.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Mike Williams

Reviews Editor

M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.

Read this next

Jeff Kaplan Reveals What Convinced Blizzard to Go With Cross-Compatibility for Overwatch 2

Kaplan says not letting Overwatch "die on the vine" took some convincing.

BlizzCon 2019 is Blizzard's Most Crucial Show in Years

The wayward company has a chance to set its tone for the future, for better or worse.

New Overwatch 2 Art Leaks on Blizzard's Website

We may have just learned who Overwatch's next hero is and what WoW's next expansion is called.

Overwatch 2 is Set to Premiere at BlizzCon 2019 - Report

It'll have hero talents and an actual story.

Blizzard's Overwatch Team Says the Nintendo Switch Port Has Been "Eye-Opening"

Bringing the hero shooter to Switch took more than just a visual overhaul.

Blizzard Cancels Overwatch Switch Launch Event Amid Ongoing Public Backlash

The Nintendo New York event has been abruptly cancelled.

Blizzard's Troubled 2019 Finds the Once Invincible Studio at a Crossroads

This past year has found Blizzard embroiled in one controversy after another. What does it say about its future?

More Analyses

A Fresh Look at New Super Mario Bros. U on Switch: Does it Measure Up to the Classics?

Where does New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe rank alongside Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World?

The State of Destiny 2 After Forsaken: A Game That Can't Shake Its Troubles

Forsaken was a solid start, but it wasn't enough to pull everyone back.

Sorry Pokemon Fans, Your Gold-Plated Cards from Burger King Aren't Worth Squat

Burger King's Pokemon cards from 1999 look kind of nice and they're fun to remember, but they're barely worth the cost of a milkshake.