Blizzard's Overwatch may not be free to play after all

Overwatch Soldier: 76

The general assumption so far—although to be clear, Blizzard hasn't yet said one way or the other—is that the upcoming FPS Overwatch will most likely be free-to-play. Today, however, Kotaku cast some doubt on that by reporting that GameStop is now taking preorders for the game, which it says will be a multi-platform release and cost $60.

That's a pretty steep price tag for a team-based online shooter, but it's not clear whether it's for the actual game—which is to say, whether Overwatch is going to carry a $60 price tag—or if it's for something similar to the $40 Founder's Pack it used to offer (and $15 Starter Pack that it still does) for Heroes of the Storm. In those cases, the game itself was free, but the packs include bonus heroes, skins, mounts, and so forth, at a considerable discount over their regular, individual purchase price. That sounds more likely to me than paying 60 bucks for a multiplayer FPS, although it's also worth bearing in mind that Heroes of the Storm is not on consoles, while Overwatch, if GameStop's preorder offer is correct, will be.

Blizzard declined to comment on the report beyond saying that it is "excited to share more information about Overwatch with everyone at BlizzCon this weekend," and I'm still waiting to hear from GameStop. BlizzCon kicks off tomorrow, and we'll be covering it all here, so we'll find out the truth soon enough; for now, my bet is that one of Blizzard's big weekend announcements—Overwatch on consoles—has been blown.

Andy Chalk

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.