Overwatch crossplay beta is live, and there's a new Ashe event too

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The Overwatch (opens in new tab) crossplay open beta announced earlier this month (opens in new tab) is live, meaning that players on PC, Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo can now group up and play together seamlessly. All you need to do to take part is set up a Battle.net account (and if you're on PC, you already have one) and then link your console account to it.

Full details on how the new crossplay system works is available at playoverwatch.com (opens in new tab), but the good news for PC players is that everything we need to know is encapsulated in a single question:

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Simple enough, eh?

The crossplay kickoff comes alongside a new Overwatch event, Ashe's Deadlock Challenge, which offers Ashe-and-Bob-themed rewards for playing games in Quick Play, Competitive, and the Arcade. Here's how it breaks down:

  • Play 9 games – get the icon
  • Play 18 games – get the spray
  • Play 27 games – get what you really came for, the epic Deadlock Ashe skin

You can also pick up a bunch more sprays by watching Twitch streamers in the Overwatch category between now and July 5. Two hours of viewing gets you one spray, two more hours gets two more sprays, and two hours on top of that will get you another three sprays.

You'll need to have your Blizzard account linked to your Twitch account in order to receive the drops, and because of recent changes to Twitch Drops you'll have to pay a little more attention than you did in the past in order to claim your rewards. Note in particular that you now must manually claim drops within 24 hours of earning them in order to receive them, and progresses toward subsequent drops won't begin until the current drop is claimed:

  • You’ll now be able to see your watch time progress towards any given drop.     
  • Twitch users can now earn rewards before linking their Battle.net account to Twitch. Rewards will expire 7 days after they’ve been claimed if a Battle.net account has not been linked.    
  • You will no longer receive drop rewards automatically. You must instead claim the drop on the channel you’re watching or in the Drops Inventory menu on Twitch within the first 24 hours of earning it.        
  • You will need to claim your first Twitch Drop reward BEFORE you can earn progress towards the second and will need to claim the second Twitch Drop before you can earn progress towards the third.        

Ashe's Deadlock Challenge runs until July 5. Barring spectacular, unforeseen catastrophe, the Overwatch crossplay open beta will presumably last until such time as Blizzard declares it fully live.

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.