No more Overwatch 2 betas, Blizzard confirms

tracer overwatch 2
(Image credit: Blizzard)

In what will no doubt come as a disappointment to many Overwatch fans, Blizzard vice president Jon Spector has announced that there will be no more public betas for Overwatch 2 ahead of its launch in October.

"Today marks just 2 months until Overwatch 2's launch!" Spector tweeted. "We know players are eager to dive in and have seen questions about the possibility of a third public beta. While we will continue testing OW2 daily internally, we're not planning any additional public beta tests.

"With all the valuable feedback we received from our alpha and 2 public beta tests, we will be focusing our efforts on launching the best game possible on Oct. 4."

The need for a third open beta test is a matter of some debate, at least partly driven by the newest Overwatch 2 hero to be revealed, Junker Queen. Morgan was immediately impressed with the new tank, calling her "immediately fun and scary" and "a reminder that nobody does heroes like Overwatch." Nat, on the other hand, was somewhat less enthusiastic, describing the character as "an overdesigned mess" because of her eclectic mix of abilities.

There are also concerns about the overall state of the game. Overwatch 2 is going to make some big changes when it rolls out in October including the addition of three brand new characters, major reworks of existing characters, and a move from 6v6 to 5v5 play—a major structural overhaul. And, don't forget, it's replacing the original Overwatch entirely, which means no transition period or Plan B for players who don't care for the new style.

"Another beta would help make that transition feel a bit less harsh, allowing players to get used to the new Overwatch 2 rules and regulations while still having the security blanket of Overwatch 1 readily available," our sister site GamesRadar argued—ironically, just a few hours before Blizzard announced that there will be no further public beta tests. 

"Overwatch isn't a typical FPS title—its allure lies in players' abilities to craft teams out of a variety of hero combinations, and turn disparate abilities into simpatico multiplayer performances. Overwatch is like conducting an orchestra, so any changes to its core features will feel like a string has snapped on the first chair's viola."

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

On the other hand, it's entirely possible that Blizzard is fully satisfied with the state of the game at this point and simply wants to avoid the headaches involved with running an open beta, dealing with feedback, and actually finishing the game on time. That's a legitimate position, especially if developers view the beta tests as, you know, actually beta tests and not just a free weekend promotion. But it's not without risk: If Overwatch 2 goes seriously sideways at launch, you can be sure that the decision to skip a third beta will come under immediate and intense criticism.

Overwatch 2 is slated to go live on October 4. It will be free to play, and we are hopeful that it will not include $45 skins.

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.