Over the years, the crossplay feature has been added to various games by many developers. Many popular games like PUBG, Fortnite, and Rocket League have combined their Xbox and PlayStation servers to facilitate quicker matchmaking times. Overwatch was released in 2016 and since then, the players have been asking for cross-platform support, and they have a reason too. Most of the popular multiplayer shooter games like Fortnite, Call of Duty, and Paladins support crossplay.
This is the question most of the Overwatch fans are looking for and wanting the answer as ‘Yes’. Although Overwatch clears all the levels to become a crossplay, it is not one yet. You can even find the game on Nintendo Switch but it has been kept separate.
As per the statement released by the Blizzard support page, here is what you need to know:
“PC and console versions of Blizzard Games are separate and do not share progress, nor allow for play on other platforms. PC, Xbox, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation players all play in separate ecosystems.
On PC, your friends’ list will be populated by your Blizzard Account friends. On Xbox, you will be part of the Xbox Live network, on Nintendo your friends will be derived from the Nintendo network, and on Playstation your friends’ list will be derived from the Playstation Network.
If you wish to play on several platforms, the games must be purchased on each platform separately.”
Now, this is the next question that arises in most of the player’s minds: will they ever be able to enjoy Overwatch as a cross-platform game? If the sources are to be believed, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan while talking about the Overwatch 2 said that the team is very much interested in crossplay and the players will also get to play in core competitive modes.
So the idea is quite fascinating to the Overwatch team, but they are still looking into it. However, there is a reason why they haven’t implemented it yet. 2019’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Warzone is a clear example of how cross-platform support would work for Overwatch. Both these games support crossplay and cross-progression with the help of an Activision ID so that all your activities are linked to your Activision account. This will help when you shift platforms, your progress will be carried forward by simply logging into your account.
In the case of Overwatch, the progress is not linked to any external account and is rather linked to the online service that your platform supports. And if you want to move it to an external account, this could make you lose all the progress you have made in the game. And I don’t think anyone would want to lose their progress and start all over from level one again.
So there are minimum chances that Overwatch will ever support crossplay, however, you can expect it with Overwatch 2. As Blizzard has already mentioned that players will be able to play together in competitive mode after the implementation of an external progression tracking system.
Leaving aside all the technical problems; the major setback that Overwatch is facing in becoming a cross-platform is the Keyboard and Mouse. Overwatch supports a controller on Consoles and on PC, you can use the keyboard and mouse but still, you can’t use it on a PS4 or Xbox One.
Another statement was given by the game director, “the Overwatch team objects to the use of mouse and keyboard on console.”
Now the explanation for this goes as- they are not putting a ban on using keyboard and mouse on the console but if one person will use a keyboard and mouse on the console and everyone else is using a controller, this will give an unfair advantage to the person using the keyboard.
There are other games supporting crossplay irrespective of the input device you use but for the Overwatch team, it is an important advantage in the case of this game.
Take the example of Overwatch league where an Overwatch player will be more skilled with a controller when compared to a player with a keyboard and mouse. Overwatch has always been particular about play style and hence it emphasizes more on skills.
Moreover, you must not expect a quick solution to this with the launch of Overwatch 2. Even if the Xbox Series X and PS5 support the keyboard and mouse, that doesn’t give you the surety that the developers will support it. So for the time being, you will have to be satisfied with whatever you have and are allowed to use.