After several years of relative silence from developer Blizzard Entertainment, Overwatch 2 has finally made its way back into the spotlight thanks to the arrival of the Overwatch 2 beta. Offering fans a taste of what's to come when Overwatch 2 eventually releases in full, the beta represents the start of an exciting new era for Overwatch. And now that the beta is live, players around the world finally have an opportunity to get their hands on the long-awaited sequel to Blizzard's award-winning hero shooter.
If you signed up to participate in the Overwatch 2 beta ahead of its launch, there's a solid chance that you've been selected to play it. Here's an overview of everything you need to know about downloading and playing the Overwatch 2 beta, including details on how to check if you can access the beta, how you can potentially get access if you don't currently have it, and how to download and install the beta build once you have access.
Overwatch 2 beta: What to expect
The Overwatch 2 beta is a pre-release version of the title that its developer, Blizzard Entertainment, is using for testing purposes. Since Overwatch 2 is overhauling the Overwatch experience in several significant ways, the team is looking to use the beta to gather feedback on these changes from the Overwatch community. Blizzard will then assumedly make adjustments to the game accordingly ahead of its full release.
For the first Overwatch 2 beta, Blizzard is testing several additions and changes that players can expect to see once Overwatch 2 eventually launches and overtakes the PvP of the original Overwatch. These include the move to a 5v5 format with one less tank hero per team, the new damage hero Sojourn, and extensive hero reworks for Orisa, Doomfist, Bastion, and Sombra. The beta also serves as the introduction of the Push game mode in which both teams fight over a robot they need to push to their opponent's home base and four new maps. The Overwatch 2 beta will also feature the graphical facelift that Overwatch 2 is giving to the original game, enriching the game's environments, characters, and special effects with sharper fidelity, advanced lighting, and more.
Blizzard has confirmed that in the future, additional betas will include more of the content that will be available when Overwatch 2 releases. This includes new maps, hero reworks, heroes, and other additional gameplay features and changes. We expect that vertical slices of Overwatch 2's PvE campaign will be made available in later betas as well, though right now Blizzard's focus is primarily on the PvP side of the game.
How to get Overwatch 2 beta access
Before you can download the Overwatch 2 beta, you have to get access to it. The primary way to do this is to sign up for the beta with your email and Battle.net account on the official Overwatch 2 PvP beta page. Though the invites for the beta have already been sent out, Blizzard has signaled that it may choose to send out more invites before the first beta is over if the developers decide that they want or need more players to participate. Even if you don't end up getting an invite to the first beta before it ends, it's very likely that you'll get an invite to future betas.
Another way you can get access to the Overwatch 2 beta is by watching the opening weekend of the Overwatch League's fifth season on the Overwatch League YouTube channel. By linking your Battle.net account to your YouTube account and then watching Overwatch League broadcasts on YouTube from May 5-8, you'll have a chance to receive one of the 1,500 Overwatch 2 beta access codes being given away every hour. Note that you'll need to watch each hour of the broadcast fully in order to be eligible to get beta access from that hour's code drop. For more information, refer to the official Overwatch League viewership rewards guide. The schedule for the Overwatch League's opening weekend broadcasts can be found below.
- LAG vs. NYE: May 5, 12:00 p.m. PT / 3:00 p.m. ET
- VAN vs. BOS: May 6, 1:30 p.m. PT / 4:30 p.m. ET
- WAS vs. TOR: May 7, 12:00 p.m. PT / 3:00 p.m. ET
- FLA vs. PAR: May 8, 1:30 p.m. PT / 4:30 p.m. ET
Regardless of how you obtain access to the Overwatch 2 beta, you'll also need to own the original Overwatch on PC in order to download and install the beta. Since owners of Overwatch will get a free upgrade to Overwatch 2 when it comes out, there's ultimately no reason not to pick up the original game — especially since it's one of the best PC games if you're a fan of first-person shooters. Xbox players should also get the game as well, as we expect future betas that are available on consoles will require participants to own a copy of Overwatch too.
Get the game
The cavalry's here!
Overwatch is a competitive team-based shooter set in a futuristic world of cybernetics and robotics. All of your progress and cosmetics from Overwatch will carry forward into Overwatch 2, and you'll also need the game to be able to play the Overwatch 2 beta.
Overwatch 2 beta download size
The file size for the Overwatch 2 beta is considerably larger than that of the original game, which is likely due to the sequel's improved visual fidelity. Whereas Overwatch requires 30GB of hard drive space, the Overwatch 2 beta requires 50GB.
Something important to keep in mind is that over the course of the beta test, Blizzard may deploy updates that increase the beta's total file size. Therefore, it's a good idea to make sure that you have some extra space available even after you download and install the Overwatch 2 beta.
How to download the Overwatch 2 beta
If you own the original Overwatch and have managed to get access to the Overwatch 2 beta, you're ready to download and install it. Thankfully, the process of doing so is incredibly simple. Here's how to do it:
- Download and install the Battle.net Desktop App here if you haven't done so already.
- Log in using the Battle.net account you signed up for the beta with.
- Click the Overwatch icon at the top of the launcher.
- Click the Game Version drop-down menu located at the bottom-left of the page.
- Select Overwatch 2 Tech Beta.
- Select Install to download and install the beta.
Once the beta is successfully downloaded and installed, you can launch it and play by selecting the blue Play button on the Overwatch game page. Note that depending on your Battle.net Desktop App download settings, you may need to manually initiate the download of updates if Blizzard deploys any to the beta while it's live.
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