Blizzard is announcing that Overwatch will be released on May 24, with an Open Beta running from May 5 through May 9. Pre-orderers get early beta access on May 3.
Thousands of game players are patiently waiting, or impatiently waiting, for Blizzard to send them a golden ticket inviting them to the Overwatch Closed Beta. Months lay between today's date and Blizzard's tentative Overwatch release deadline of June 21. Today, those begging thousands can take solace, as Blizzard has come forward to announce both that Overwatch's release date has moved forward to May 24, and that they'll be holding an open beta earlier in May.
Overwatch's Open Beta, which is free to all, officially starts on May 5 and ends on May 9. The beta will be available on all platforms, so PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners all get in on the fun.
But wait, there's more! Pre-orderers of Overwatch, or at least those who pre-order prior to April 28, will get early access to the Open Beta, as well as a code for a friend. The early access Open Beta starts two days earlier, kicking things off on May 3.
What does that mean for the closed beta and its participants? Closed Beta 2 will continue to run up until May 3, when the Open Beta's early access officially begins. Closed Beta participants do not get into the early access without pre-ordering, it seems, but the open beta will be for all. There's also no word on the Closed Beta returning after the Open Beta, so it's safe to say Overwatch will go offline between May 9 and launch on May 24.
Releasing Overwatch month earlier than June 24 suggests Blizzard is content with the state of the game since its relaunch in Closed Beta 2. As a result players should not expect any additional overhauls for the progression system or matchmaking -- what's live now is likely what will go live in early March and then again in late March.
On that note, the Open Beta will feature all major content included with the base Overwatch launch package. That is to say, all 21 launch heroes will be available to play in the Open Beta. All maps will also be available to play on. There's no word on whether premium skins will be made available, either for purchase or for use, but the Overwatch reward system that gives out skins and emotes will be working. Unfortunately, none of that will carry over to launch.
Finally, it's worth mentioning that console players will have to be subscribed to their respective system's online service to play in the Overwatch beta. That's PlayStation Plus for PlayStation 4 players and Xbox Live for Xbox One players. PC players will, of course, need a Battle.net account, too, which is where they'll redeem their key and download the client.
Overwatch is planned for launch on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One starting May 24. Closed Beta is ongoing, with invite waves going out nearly ever week. Open Beta will run from May 5 through May 9, with early access to pre-orderers starting on May 3. Check out Blizzard's FAQ on the Open Beta for more information.