Blizzard’s Overwatch is currently running through a PC beta, but appears to be the most console-friendly game developed by the studio in quite some time. So, it should come as no surprise that pre-orders for a PlayStation 4 and Xbox One release suddenly cropped up Thursday just ahead of the BlizzCon 2015 kickoff.
The first clue of Overwatch‘s impending console release announcement came from players participating in the game’s PC beta. As reported by Eurogamer, the user interface and character design is console controller friendly, with each of the characters having a few abilities that easily map to a gamepad. Additionally, the European website for the game mentioned consoles as a platform (via wccftech), and code was found in the PC beta by Overpwn revealing checks for PlayStation Network and Xbox LIVE.
If there was any doubt left that Overwatch is coming to the PS4 and Xbox One, it was removed by a pair of reports from Kotaku and IGN. Both outlets report GameStop stores offering pre-order for the game on both consoles plus the PC. Several New York stores were contacted by both gaming websites, along with a store in Connecticut that revealed the pre-order is titled Overwatch: Origins Edition.
An interesting aspect of the Overwatch pre-order news is that the Origins Edition costs $60. Many expected Blizzard’s hero shooter to be free-to-play, and that is still likely the case. The more probable story is Blizzard is offering a bundle with some or all of the heroes and in-game items unlocked immediately. Blizzard’s free-to-play MOBA, Heroes of the Storm, has Starter Packs available for sale on Amazon. Additionally, other free-to-play titles, such as Hi-Rez Studios SMITE, are known for selling bundles that give immediate access to all heroes in the game. The fact that Overwatch is getting a console release makes a retail option more logical.
“I will be attending BlizzCon 2015 this year and look forward to seeing Windows 10 sponsoring one of the biggest PC gaming community events,” Xbox LIVE Director of Porgramming Larry Hyrb announced on his Major Nelson blog before detailing how he would pick five random people to give free tickets too.
Windows 10 is getting a major games push from Microsoft and Xbox, so the BlizzCon appearance made sense. It also was the first step in generating buzz that some of Blizzard’s games could come to consoles. Overwatch and Hearthstone were the most likely candidates thanks to their newness and console-friendly design.
The first Overwatch event at BlizzCon will happen on Friday, November 6, at 7:45 p.m. ET / 4:45 p.m. PT with a panel titled “Overwatch: What’s New,” according to the convention schedule posted on Blizzard’s website.
“Join Overwach’s developers as they discuss the newest heroes, maps, and gameplay features coming in Blizzard’s team-based first-person shooter,” the panel description reads.
This is followed up with a second panel on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET / 11:30 a.m. PT, titled “The World of Overwatch.” That panel will be spent discussing the visuals, characters, and locations of the game, so the first panel is likely where any console release announcement will be made. Additionally, a Hearthstone panel, subtitled “What’s next,” happens just prior to the first Overwatch panel.
[Image via BattleNet]