At long last, cross-platform play is finally coming to Overwatch

PC and console gamers will soon be able to brawl together in Blizzard’s team-based shoot ‘em up.

It looks like Blizzard is putting at least some of its massive COVID-19 windfall to good use — yesterday, the company announced that cross-play functionality will soon arrive in Overwatch for PC and console players. In a video posted to YouTube, recently crowned Overwatch game director, Aaron Keller, explained that gamers will be able to test out the new feature’s beta release in the near future following the latest update. PC players won’t need to do much, but those on Team Console will need to create their own accounts, then link them to their accounts on PlayStation, Nintendo Switch and / or Xbox before being able to shoot ‘em up across platforms.

That said, there are some (sensible) caveats. Blizzard’s extensive cross-play FAQ explains that “no progress and collection content will carry over between sessions on different systems,” although Keller notes in the announcement video that it should be coming “in the future.” Additionally, cross-play will be available in all game modes sans Competitive games for “balance purposes” between console and PC players.

But don’t worry, purists. Blizzard notes you won’t have to opt into cross-play when it finally arrives. For everyone else, cross-play offers a long overdue, much anticipated add-on to Overwatch.

But wait, there’s more — To celebrate cross-play’s imminent arrival, Blizzard also announced a sweet bonus for all players, regardless of platform. After the feature’s launch, anyone logging on before the end of the year will also receive a complimentary Golden Loot Box. Who knows — maybe whatever’s inside will give you that much more of an edge over [insert hated console/PC of your choice].

Multiple multiplayer options — Multiplayer gaming has seen an unsurprisingly huge uptick in players over the past year’s worth of pandemic-induced isolation. Even though the world appears (fingers crossed) on its way back to some sense of normalcy, it’s good to see such a popular game as Overwatch become that much more accessible. That said, this is still a game owned by the AAA gaming overlords at Activision, a company that is no stranger to tone-deaf decisions. For those looking for more humble multiplayer gaming distractions, there’s always the (admittedly terribly named) PiePacker console, which promises to be jam-packed with third-party indie titles. Regardless of your pick, it’s a good time to be gaming with friends.