Overwatch 2 is now live

Overwatch hero Kiriko
(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

The day without Overwatch has ended. The free-to-play Overwatch 2 has launched today, replacing the original game with an updated design and a new, contentious battle pass.

There are a number of changes to the original game's team-based tactics—which we're not yet convinced make it better—including reworked heroes, new maps, and a new mode. It's all free with an optional $40 Watchpoint Pack to get a few skins, 2,000 Overwatch Coins (its new premium currency), and the first season's premium battle pass, which comes with new support hero, Kiriko. The way heroes are unlocked in Overwatch 2 is perhaps its most unpopular change.

Overwatch 2 isn't quite the game that was initially announced in 2019: Its PvE side won't arrive until next year. Blizzard promised wildly different abilities than you get in the PvP and a whole talent tree system, but all of that will have to wait for now.

The PvP side of the game, however, has been updated with three new heroes: Sojourn (damage), Junker Queen (tank), and Kiriko (support). The battle pass and in-game shop also have a variety of new cosmetics, like the Mythic Cyber Demon Genji skin that lets you customize parts of his armor. Blizzard plans to drop new seasons (and themed battle passes) every nine weeks. A new tank hero is coming in season 2, and then each season will flip flop between a new map and a new character.

Overwatch 2 launch time 

Overwatch 2 launched as a free-to-play game for everyone on Tuesday, October 4 at 12 pm PDT. Here's what that looks like in a few time zones:

  • PDT: 12 pm, October 4
  • EDT: 3 pm, October 4
  • BST: 8 pm, October 4
  • CET: 9 pm, October 4
  • AEST: 6 am, October 5

You can now download the 50GB game in your Battle.net launcher. Overwatch 2 has also launched globally on PC, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, and Nintendo Switch.

As of launch time, players are experiencing very long queues to get in game. Blizzard is aware of the "Unexpected Server Error" message and plans to update players on server status soon.

If you owned the first Overwatch, you can log in before the end of season two and receive a Founder's Pack that lets you unlock Sojourn, Junker Queen, and Kiriko immediately. Non-Overwatch 1 owners who log in during the first season will get Sojourn and Junker Queen for free too. They will also have to unlock most of the original game's roster of heroes by completing around 100 games.

Overwatch 2 also requires a phone number tied to your Battle.net account to enable SMS verification. Blizzard has a blog post about how to add SMS Protection to your account and it also explains how to merge your Overwatch accounts into one so that cross-progression is enabled. Cricket and other prepaid phone users have reported that their numbers don't work and thus they won't be able to play the game. Blizzard hasn't said if there's a change to this rule coming yet, which is a huge bummer for those who can't get their numbers to work.

Otherwise, I hope you've practiced your mouse dexterity, because everyone is going to try to lock in the new heroes before you.

Associate Editor

Tyler has covered games, games culture, and hardware for over a decade before joining PC Gamer as Associate Editor. He's done in-depth reporting on communities and games as well as criticism for sites like Polygon, Wired, and Waypoint. He's interested in the weird and the fascinating when it comes to games, spending time probing for stories and talking to the people involved. Tyler loves sinking into games like Final Fantasy 14, Overwatch, and Dark Souls to see what makes them tick and pluck out the parts worth talking about. His goal is to talk about games the way they are: broken, beautiful, and bizarre.