No Cross-Platform Play for Overwatch in Part Because PC Players Might Have Advantage
"It's really difficult."
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Today at BlizzCon 2015, Blizzard confirmed that Overwatch will not support cross-platform play. PC players will only play with other PC players; while players on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will only play against people on those same consoles. Blizzard senior designer Jeremy Craig shared the news in an interview today, explaining that part of the reason for the decision came down to keeping the game fair and balanced.
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"It's really difficult," he said about why Overwatch won't support cross-platform play. "From a gameplay standpoint, mouse and keyboard has a little bit of an advantage in terms of being able to spin really quickly. And our game is pretty fast-paced. It just felt like there was a little bit too much of an advantage.
"It just seems like the console crowd is going to love playing against the console people; the PC people will love playing against PC people."
Also in our interview, Craig said there are basically no differences between the PC and console versions of Overwatch. They are "pretty much 1:1," he said.
One major game that does support cross-platform play between PC and console is Street Fighter V, which will allow PC players to fight against PS4 users. The game's beta tests, however, have not gone so well.
Craig also told GameSpot that Overwatch's business model was not locked in from the onset of development. Some thought it would be a free-to-play game like Team Fortress 2. "For me as a developer, it's awesome, because at Blizzard, we have the freedom to make these games what we want them to be and sort of trust that we'll figure out the best way to deliver it to the players," he said.
During a BlizzCon presentation tonight, game director Jeff Kaplan shared even more details about Overwatch. He said the game was planned from day one for consoles. He also said there won't be a Mac version, at least not right away, because doing that is "too challenging." In addition, Kaplan explained that Blizzard hopes to one day add per-hero key-binding for all 21 characters.
On top of that, Kaplan said Blizzard hopes to introduce modding support for Overwatch down the line. This probably won't be in place for launch, but he stressed that, "We absolutely believe in modding." He added that local "split-screen co-op would be awesome," though there are no plans at this moment.
What's more, Kaplan confirmed that the new Overwatch characters announced at BlizzCon earlier today will be released in the beta next week.
Overwatch launches in spring 2016 for PC, Xbox One, and PS4. The game comes to consoles through the Origins Edition, which you can see more of in the video embedded above.