New Overwatch Update Adds High Bandwidth Mode on PC

Blizzard releases update to improve netcode for the competitive shooter.


Blizzard has released an update for the PC version of Overwatch, introducing a "high bandwidth" update that will improve the overall online multiplayer experience. The studio has also released a developer diary featuring lead engineer Tim Ford and senior engineer Philip Orwig, who discuss what this feature does.

It's quite a technical discussion involving dynamic packet synching assessments, interpolation delays, and update rates, among other things.

"Ultimately the thing you need to keep in mind is that, if your connection isn't keeping up, don't worry about it, we'll downgrade you appropriately and you'll see the interpolation delay increase. Everything is going to work out perfectly fine on that front," explains Orwig.

Simplifying somewhat, it just means players on PC should have a much smoother multiplayer experience thanks to netcode improvements.

"The net result of that is you'll be shot around corners less, you'll be able to predict escape moves better and the server will hear about it sooner," adds Ford. "So, if you got that Blink off the servers going to process that quicker and make you less likely to get hooked."

Of course, this doesn't mean the game will compensate for high latency: "Remember, all of our stuff is still predictive. The majority of the abilities you use is still predictive. So even though this is bringing you closer in line with the temporal authority of the server, there still will be cases where you'll mispredict. If you have a high latency for example. But it should in general feel better."

The high bandwidth feature is live now on PC but Blizzard has said there are "a couple of regions" where it is still being rolled out. Additionally, the studio is "still investigating how we can roll this out on console."

Since launch, Overwatch has seen considerable success. It's appeared on numerous top-selling lists and has surpassed more than 15 million players, though it's important to note that players does not translate directly to copies sold.

Overwatch Season 2 recently began, which removed sudden death from Competitive mode--matches will now end in ties. In addition to switching up the rules, Blizzard recently spoke to us about what else it has planned for Overwatch in the future.

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