Overwatch retail copies are to be delivered a day prior to launch, though launch is still scheduled for May 24.
Overwatch fans across the internet are praying to Blizzard for a miracle. That by some act of benevolence, Overwatch‘s open beta might return. That by some random act of mercy, Overwatch‘s servers will go live early. As of yet no miracle has yet occurred, but that won’t end the Overwatch community’s dreams and memes. Overwatch will still officially launch on May 24 across all platforms until Blizzard says otherwise.
However, something odd will happen prior to servers going live on May 24. Several retail outlets, including Amazon and Best Buy, have now confirmed that copies of Overwatch will be delivered a day earlier than expected. Here’s Amazon’s update for pre-orderers, verbatim:
” ‘Overwatch’ will now be released one day early, on May 23rd, 2016. Servers go live on May 24th, 2016. Product availability is subject to change and limited to stock on hand. Date and time playable subject to change.”
Retailers delivering games prior to an official launch date is rather unprecedented, though in the digital age it seems to be an understandable decision. After all, Overwatch is an online-only multiplayer game and will almost certainly have several updates to download prior to going online. So, allowing gamers to attach their retail keys to their Blizzard accounts and/or install the game onto their PC or console a day early is very consumer friendly.
That Blizzard is simply letting fans pre-load Overwatch a day before the game’s launch is certainly the simplest and therefore most likely explanation for delivering the game a day early. However, considering that such an action is completely unprecedented and likely an ordeal for retailers, something more is implied. The question must be asked: is Blizzard planning on launching Overwatch a day early?
Overwatch‘s open beta has absolutely proven that Blizzard’s multiplayer FPS is ready for wide-scale launch, both from a client-side perspective and from the server back-end point of view. While Blizzard is certainly taking the time between the Overwatch open beta and its release date to optimize the game and implement the full spectrum of features, the studio is likely just a button press away from being ready to go. Technically, the studio is a button press and millions of players having their game keys arrive.
Whether sending out retail copies of Overwatch a day early will be seen as a respectful not to players or a greater plan to launch the game a day early, Blizzard’s doing something exciting. Which, considering just how excited most Overwatch fans are for launch day, is really overall rather unnecessary, but fun nevertheless.
Overwatch is currently scheduled to launch on May 24 for the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Retail copies of the game will begin to be delivered starting on May 23, but the servers won’t go live until launch day. That is, if nothing changes between then and now.