Overwatch crossplay is finally a reality, five years after the game's release. Unfortunately, there's no cross-progression, so keep that in mind when making plans to team up with friends.
The Overwatch crossplay beta was announced today and is going live "soon". The crossplay beta is powered by the newest Battle.net update, allowing players around the globe to team up as their favorite Overwatch heroes, no matter what platform they're on - be it PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, or Nintendo Switch. Competitive games will not be a part of traditional crossplay; instead players will be split into console and PC pools.
The advent of crossplay is likely part of Blizzard's lead-up to Overwatch 2, which has new co-op PvE modes that would benefit from crossplay capabilities. Plus, with new PvP game modes like Push, it'll be nice to join in the fun with players across platforms.
In order to take part in the crossplay beta, you'll need to make a Battle.net account and link your appropriate console (PC players will already have a Battle.net account). To do so, make your free account, select 'Account Settings' from the drop-down menu, then 'Connections' and connect your console. You'll be able to find your friends through their Battle.net account name.
Anyone who sets up an account before December 31, 2021 will get a free golden loot box to celebrate the launch of the Overwatch crossplay beta. You'll get the loot box on any system that you play Overwatch, so if you're like me and go back and forth between PC and Xbox Series S, you'll get two loot boxes for your efforts. PC players will be grouped with other PC players regardless of their input method, and console aim-assist will be disabled for non-Competitive matches when you group up with a PC player. If none of the crossplay capabilities appeal to you, you can disable crossplay through the Overwatch in-game menu if you're on console. PC players, however, cannot opt out of crossplay.
Overwatch seems to be taking a very specific approach to allow players to team up across various platforms. The lack of cross-progression is disappointing, not to mention missing opt-out options for PC players, but at least Competitive matches will remain evenly matched by splitting them into two different pools. You can find more details in the newly minted Overwatch crossplay FAQ.