The Overwatch open beta was played by more than 9.7 million people

Remember when entry to the Overwatch beta was like trying to win a golden ticket to Willy Wonka's cartoon weaponary factory? Well, turns out quite a few people got to sample the wares in the end. The open beta attracted more than 9.7 million users worldwide, who sunk a ridiculous 4.9 billion minutes of play—or 81 million hours—into more than 37 million matches. And that, folks, is a record for the firm. 

"We're thrilled that such an incredible number of players from around the globe got a chance to check out Overwatch during the Open Beta," Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime said. "Our mission was to make sure as many console and PC gamers as possible could experience the full game ahead of its launch—the response was overwhelming, and we hope that everyone had a blast."   

With any luck, that means Overwatch will be as smooth as a sheet of glass when it launches on May 24. Before that happens (but not today, sorry), Blizzard will release the third Overwatch animated short, entitled Dragons, which will explore “the history of conflict between the scions of the Shimada clan: Hanzo and Genji.” The tale of two ninjas will debut on May 16 at

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.