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Overwatch could be getting a free trial mode

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Overwatch is not free-to-play but, if dataminers poking through the patch that recently hit the PTR are correct, a free trial mode of some sort may soon be available. Three strings relating to a free trial have been dug up, according to Overwatch fan site Overpwn

  • Sorry, the Overwatch Free Trial is not available at this time.
  • Group members using trial cannot enter competitive play.
  • Not available for trial.

Given that there currently is no Overwatch free trial option, the presence of messages relating to one can very easily be taken to indicate that one is coming. They could also be leftover bits from the days when Overwatch was maybe being considered for a free-to-play release, but Blizzard put the kibosh on that idea last year, and this is hardly the first time that fans have dug deep into an update—the implication being that if this was pre-release detritus, I'd think somebody would have found it by now.    

Other information extracted from the update includes a spot of information on Overwatch season two, icons for the rank tiers that game director Jeff Kaplan talked about earlier this week, changes to a few in-game strings and the addition of many new ones, and a “stream overlay for D.Va” that reveals she's already received over 9000 donations.      

A free trial for Overwatch makes sense: Several other Blizzard games offer free modes of various sorts, and now that Overwatch has been out for a few months, my guess would be that most gamers who haven't already jumped on it aren't going to without a little convincing. Giving them a chance to see what it's all about without having to fork over any cash would be a good way to goose the growth rate—the tricky bit is doing it without pissing off the folks who've already paid for it. I've emailed Blizzard to find out more, and I'll update if and when I receive a reply. 

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.