Overwatch 2 launch time: When you can play, preload, download size, and more

Overwatch 2, a modern relaunch of Blizzard’s hero shooter that launched in 2016, is just a few days away from releasing. It promises to shake up the Overwatch experience in several significant ways, and ultimately represents the dawn of a new era for the award-winning title. While it’s less of a sequel and more of a massive update to the game’s foundations, Overwatch 2 nevertheless offers fans plenty of reasons to get excited.

In the days leading up to Overwatch 2’s full launch, many fans have wondered when the game is going live, as well as how big it’s going to be and when it will be available for preload. In this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know so you can be ready to play at release.

What is Overwatch 2?

(Image credit: Windows Central / Brendan Lowry)

While the title “Overwatch 2” implies that the game is a sequel, it’s more accurate to think of it as a huge update for the original game that overhauls its core systems and  transitions it over to a new business model. The biggest change it brings is the move from a 6v6 format to a 5v5 one, removing one tank hero from each team. This has been done to promote more active gameplay, as matches would often come to a standstill in the original game due to how powerful strategies like “double shield” were with two tank heroes.

To compensate for this, tank heroes have been buffed so that they can solo tank effectively, and both damage and support characters have gotten big adjustments as well. Overwatch 2 has also significantly reduced or removed most stun and crowd control abilities from the game in an effort to make the moment-to-moment gameplay less frustrating. For a full breakdown of how each character has been tweaked, refer to our guide on Overwatch 2’s hero changes and reworks.

(Image credit: Windows Central / Brendan Lowry)

Overwatch 2 also makes Blizzard’s hero shooter free-to-play, and replaces its aging loot box system with seasonal 80-tier Battle Passes that are similar to the ones found in games like Apex Legends and Valorant. There’s a free and $10 Premium version of the Battle Passes, and both of them offer cosmetic rewards, with the latter offering instant access to new heroes, a 20% XP boost, and a new type of unlock called Mythic skins that are highly customizable. Free-to-play users, meanwhile, can unlock new heroes by reaching Tier 55 on the Battle Pass they’re available from.

Both free and Premium users will progress their Battle Pass by earning XP, which is done by playing normally and by completing relatively simple daily and weekly gameplay challenges (think “Block 100,000 damage” or “Deal or boost 150,000 Damage”). Challenge completions also award Overwatch Coins that you can spend in the game’s Shop, though Overwatch Coins are purchasable with real money as well (the going rate for them is 100 Overwatch Coins per dollar you spend). The Shop is also where Premium Battle Passes are purchased, meaning that players can earn enough currency through gameplay to occasionally buy Premium access without spending money on it.

Overwatch 2’s seasons will last nine weeks each, and will always bring at least one new hero, map, or game mode to the game. Blizzard has promised that a new hero will always be added to the game every other season, so fans can expect a new character to play every six months.

Overwatch 2 launch time and release date

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Activision Blizzard has announced that Overwatch 2 will roll out universally on October 4, 2022, meaning that the game will go live for everyone in the world at the same time. Players in the United States will be able to play the game in the afternoon, while some in eastern regions will need to wait until the morning of October 5 to jump in due to timezone differences.

Using official information provided by Blizzard, we’ve compiled a full list of Overwatch 2’s launch times and dates for all major timezones in the table below. Note that issues with the game’s rollout may result in changes to this schedule, which we’ll update this article with if necessary.

Timezone Scheduled release time
Pacific Time (PT) Oct. 4, 12:00 p.m.
Mountain Time (MT) Oct. 4, 1:00 p.m.
Central Time (CT) Oct. 4, 2:00 p.m.
Eastern Time (ET) Oct. 4, 3:00 p.m.
Brasilia Time (BRT) Oct. 4, 4:00 p.m.
Universal Time Coordinated (UTC) Oct. 4, 7:00 p.m.
British Summer Time (BST) Oct. 4, 8:00 p.m.
Central European Summer Time (CEST) Oct. 4, 9:00 p.m.
Moscow Time (MSK) Oct. 4, 10:00 p.m.
Gulf Standard Time (GST) Oct. 4, 11:00 p.m.
Indian Standard Time (IST) Oct. 5, 12:30 a.m.
Singapore Standard Time (SNST) Oct. 5, 3:00 a.m.
China Standard Time (CST) Oct. 5, 3:00 a.m.
Japan Standard Time (JST) Oct. 5, 4:00 a.m.
Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) Oct. 5, 5:00 a.m.
New Zealand Standard Time (NZST) Oct. 5, 8:00 a.m.

When is ‘Overwatch 1’ shutting down?

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

To prepare for the arrival of Overwatch 2, the client for “Overwatch 1” is being taken offline a little over 24 hours before the new game’s launch. Specifically, Blizzard has confirmed that the original Overwatch is shutting down on October 3 at approximately 9:00 a.m. PT / 12:00 p.m. ET. Overwatch will then be unavailable until Overwatch 2’s release the following day.

Overwatch 2 download size

(Image credit: Windows Central / Brendan Lowry)

Blizzard has revealed Overwatch 2’s download size ahead of the game’s upcoming launch, and like the original game, it’s not that big compared to some other modern games like Call of Duty. The game will require about 30GB of space on consoles like the Xbox Series X|S and PS5, while you’ll need about 50GB of space on PC.

Note that you should make sure you have some extra free space available, too, as updates to Overwatch 2 over time will probably increase the amount of space it takes up on your system. Doing this will ensure you won’t have to deal with a storage problem down the line.

Overwatch 2 preload

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

Overwatch 2’s developers are giving players a chance to preload the game before it comes out so that they can play the second the servers go live. However, the ability to preload the game is only available to players that own a copy of the original Overwatch or have purchased the Overwatch 2: Watchpoint Pack. Preload times are also different depending on whether or not you’re using a console or a PC to play.

Existing players and Watchpoint Pack owners on PC will be able to preload Overwatch 2 at 1:30 p.m. PT / 4:30 p.m. ET on September 30, several days ahead of its launch. Meanwhile, existing players and Watchpoint Pack owners on console will need to wait until 9:00 a.m. PT / 12 p.m. ET on its October 4 release day to begin preloading. If you’re a new player on either platform that doesn’t own the Watchpoint Pack, you can download the game when it goes live at 12:00 p.m. PT / 3:00 p.m. ET on October 4.

Overwatch 2 launches on Xbox Series X|S, PS5, PS4, PC, and Nintendo Switch on October 4, 2022. It’s likely going to be one of the best Xbox shooters available, and since it’s free-to-play, it doesn’t cost anything to check it out. Alternatively, players can purchase the Overwatch 2: Watchpoint Pack that provides access to Season 1’s Premium Battle Pass, 2,000 Overwatch Coins, and a bundle of unique Legendary skins.

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