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When does Overwatch 2 go live?

How and when you can play Blizzard’s free-to-play sequel

Junker Queen flies forward while twirling her axe in Overwatch 2 Image: Blizzard Entertainment
Austen Goslin (he/him) is an entertainment editor. He writes about the latest TV shows and movies, and particularly loves all things horror.

Overwatch 2 is almost here, but exactly what that means is still awfully confusing. The game has an official release date of Oct. 4, but it’s full of so many changes from the previous game that players might still have a whole lot of questions about what the game is, when it’s out, or even how much it costs.

To help make all this a little clearer, we’ve answered a few of the most important Overwatch 2 questions you might have in the leadup to release

When does Overwatch 2 come out?

Overwatch 2 launches on Oct. 4 at around 3 p.m. EDT/noon PDT for a worldwide release, according to Blizzard.

Can you pre-download Overwatch 2?

PC players can pre-download the game from the client starting on Sept. 30 at 4:30 p.m. EDT/1:30 p.m. PDT. The PC version of the game is around 50 GB.

Console players can pre-download the game starting on Oct. 4 at 12 p.m. EDT/9 a.m. PDT, with a download of around 30 GB.

Is Overwatch 2 free-to-play?

Yes, it is. There will be a battle pass, and Blizzard is selling a Watchpoint Pack to give players some bonus cosmetics if they want them.

Is the original Overwatch going away?

Yes, Overwatch is going offline at 12 p.m. EDT/9 a.m. PDT on Oct. 3, and will not be coming back up. Instead the only way to jump into the Overwatch universe will be through the sequel.

What is SMS Protection?

SMS Protection is a new addition that Blizzard is introducing to help moderate Overwatch 2 from cheaters, bots, and banned players now that the series is going free-to-play. It will require players to link their cell phone numbers to their Blizzard account as a form of two-factor authentication.

Can I play Overwatch 2 early?

Nope. There was a beta for the game, and an alpha, but both have passed now, so you’ll have to wait out the next few days. (Blizzard is calling Overwatch 2’s launch an “early access” release, but this seems to be a designation meant to highlight its in-development status, and the fact that the PvE single-player and cooperative side of the sequel is not ready for launch.)