Overwatch 2: Will It Be Playable on PS5 and Xbox Project Scarlett?

Overwatch 2 is coming to PC, PS4, Xbox One, and even Switch sometime in the, hopefully, near future. The sequel to Overwatch was announced at Blizzcon 2019, and soon after, it was revealed the Overwatch 2 would be coming to current gen consoles. But, as of the time of this writing, there are no announcements regarding bringing the game to next gen consoles.

The Xbox Scarlett and PS5 are set to launch one year from now, in Holiday 2020, and the release date for Overwatch 2 has not been confirmed by Blizzard. That is some suggestion that the game will be out sometime in 2020 before the new consoles launch, or it simply wants to cater to the large install base of the current generation console owners.

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So no, there is no official PS4 or Xbox Scarlett version of Overwatch 2but based on what we know about the next generation of consoles, that doesn't mean gamers won't be able to enjoy the game on their shiny new machine. In fact, everyone who buys Overwatch 2 on Xbox should be able to do just that.

It is confirmed that the Xbox Scarlett will be backwards compatible with all previous generations of Xbox. The next generation console will be able to buy, download, and play any game from previous generations across the Xbox store. If players own the disc of that backward compatible game, they can also put it into their Xbox One and download the backward compatible version. This attempt to unify the Xbox ecosystem is a major driver for Microsoft in getting ahead of the trends in the next console generation.

Sony, on the other hand, has not fully confirmed backwards compatibility with the PS4 for the PS5. Sony has confirmed that it's still looking into the feature and how it will work, though. Fortunately, leaks and rumors support the possibility that the PS5 will be backwards compatible with PS4 games, but due to the architecture of the PS3, it is unlikely it will go beyond simply supporting downloads of older games on the Playstation Store.

The same way the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X offered higher resolution, smoother framerate versions of games that can still technically run on an original consoles, it seems the new consoles will be able to run versions of games from the previous generations better. This more iterative and connected console cycle can benefit players who bought Overwatch 2 and then a new console that plays their favorite game in a slightly higher resolution.

In both cases, it seems like it is a relatively safe move for players pick up Overwatch 2 when it comes out for PS4 or Xbox One and know that they won't have to buy another copy of the game a year later. And quite obviously, PC and Switch players don't have to worry about this issue. The move makes a lot of sense. If Blizzard wants to sell next generation early adopters who maybe never picked up Overwatch 2 an opportunity to get the best Overwatch experience on the market.

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The move to release Overwatch 2 to a larger player base is more in line with Blizzard's strategy of growing above all else. The multiplayer component of the game is staying in lock step with the original and the games will be cross compatible. The real selling point of Overwatch 2 is the new, PvE single player campaign. There is still a lot left to be revealed about exactly what this mode is, and Blizzard has only given fans a teaser, but this move shows the company is committed to growing their brand and player base first, and selling hardcore fans a new $60 video game second.

Game director Jeff Kaplan recently confirmed that one day Overwatch and its sequel will merge. This likely means Overwatch players who haven't bought Overwatch 2 will still have to use the new game client in order to play competitive or custom matches, and view cosmetics. Though it is likely the premium PvE content that is exclusive to Overwatch 2 will still be hidden behind a paywall. At least until Blizzard has built up a significant backlog of DLC and expansions for Overwatch 2, where they could likely pivot to a free-to-play model or, Destiny like, just offer the base game for free.

One day Blizzard will likely release next generation versions of Overwatch 2, but for now players can feel confident that the copy they buy on launch day will be playable on both consoles. There is a lot of Overwatch 2 features to be excited for, and plenty to be skeptical about, including why this is a sequel at all. 2020 will surely hold more news on the nitty gritty details of what Overwatch 2 will be.

Overwatch 2 has no currently announced release window but is confirmed for Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

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