Overwatch beta is shutting down next week

Origins Slipstream Tracer Overwatch

The Overwatch closed beta that's currently underway will be brought to an end next week. Blizzard said the beta will relaunch sometime in January, but now it's time to start sorting through all the data that's been collected over the past month-and-a-half.

"Since the start of the Overwatch beta in late October, aspiring heroes from around the world have battled it out in more than 900,000 matches. In this same period of time, we've also gathered invaluable information about our servers, core systems like matchmaking, and overall map and hero balance—thanks not only to the raw data we've collected from the game, but also to the numerous bug reports, suggestions, critiques, and experiences you’ve shared," Blizzard said in the announcement. "This phase of development has been key, but now it's time to analyze the data we have, dig into your feedback even further, and put that knowledge to use as best we can."

The beta will be shut down at 9 am PST on December 10, one week from today, but the beta forums will stay open until December 18. No new players will be added between now and the shutdown, but all those who are in the current beta will be readmitted once it restarts. Blizzard also plans to add more players after it relaunches, although specifics about how many and when they'll be allowed behind the velvet rope have yet to be nailed down.

We had a nice chat about Overwatch with Game Director Jeff Kaplan and Creative Director Chris Metzen early last month at BlizzCon, during which we talked about the beta test, future content, and why Blizzard opted to go with the rather surprising not-free-to-play payment model. Watch it here.

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.