Overwatch League VP confirms that an Overwatch giveaway is coming (Updated)

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Update: The Uprising jumped the gun a little bit, but Overwatch League VP Jon Spencer confirmed on Twitter that the league will in fact be giving away the game and OWL tokens. All teams will be taking part "soon," although at the moment it doesn't look like any of them have gone live. We'll update again when they do. 

A funny thing happened on the Boston Uprising's website earlier today: For about an hour, the Overwatch League team was offering free copies of Overwatch, for keeps, to anyone who filled out a form at this "getoverwatch" page. There were a few restrictions: The free copy was only available on PC via Battle.net, and you had to be at least 13 years of age and a resident of the US to claim it. Otherwise, though, anyone who wanted the game could request a copy.

It seemed a bit odd to me, because there was no word of the giveaway from Blizzard, the Overwatch League, or even the Uprising itself—I ran across it courtesy of Wario64 on Twitter. And sure enough, it looks as though something happened that wasn't meant to, as shortly after 2 pm Eastern, the page was taken down. It now says: "This form has been deactivated and is closed to any further submissions."

(Image credit: Blizzard)

Some fans have speculated that the giveaway could be a prelude to a free-to-play transition for Overwatch, but I'm not sure how likely that is. The free game was only being offered on PC via codes for Battle.net, not consoles, and requests for codes had to be submitted by January 15, 2021 and redeemed by January 31. It may also be part of a planned promotion for the upcoming Grand Finals weekend, which runs October 8-11—although, ironically, Boston won't be taking part in that, as it was knocked out in the second round of playoffs on September 4.

What doesn't seem likely is that this is some sort of lead-in to Overwatch 2. A recent leak suggested that more information on that could be forthcoming in early 2021, which squares will Blizzard's plan to take BlizzCon online in February, but that won't take place until more than a month after the end of the giveaway period.

Clearly something is happening, though. I was able to squeeze in a request for a code before the giveaway was killed and received an email saying that one will be sent to me within 72 hours, so the promotion was definitely active, although whether the codes will actually be sent out is another question entirely. I've reached out to Blizzard for more information and will update if I receive a reply

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.