Nearly 10 Million People Gave The Overwatch Open Beta A Go

They're part and parcel of almost every game these days: an open beta. And as important as it is for gamers to get a test, it's also crucial for the developers so they can gauge the performance of their server infrastructure and design.

Perhaps it's because they had months of closed beta beforehand, but the open beta (on PS4 and PC for me at least) held up admirably. And it seems like it held up for millions of others too.

Blizzard's announced via a release that more than 9.7 million players tried Overwatch on all three platforms, with players combining to play more than 37 million matches.

There's not much more to go off, although it provides an interesting point of comparison. EA announced that more than 9.5 million people played the beta for Star Wars: Battlefront, although it seems like Overwatch struck a slightly louder chord.

Battlefront's open beta ran from October 8 to October 13, while Overwatch's open beta ran from May 5 to May 10, although those who pre-ordered early enough could begin playing the game from May 3. (I'm using US times for consistency, incidentally.)

The number that stands out to me between the two games is the number of minutes played: around 4.9 billion minutes of Overwatch were played during the open beta, compared to 1.6 million minutes played for Battlefront.

It's not an indictment of DICE's shooter, of course. Blizzard confirmed over the phone that the figures included the Early Access period as well, so it's entirely possible that more people actually gave Battlefront's open beta a whirl once those figures are discounted.

If you consider how many people ended up purchasing Battlefront — which was more than 14 million, according to EA's latest earnings — it's an indication of the kind of success that Overwatch might have.

And unlike Battlefront, Overwatch doesn't have to worry about launching around the same time as Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed: Syndicate or Fallout 4. (There was Rise of the Tomb Raider as well, but it's doubtful that would have had any effect being an Xbox One exclusive.)


    played the tutorial, then forgot about it until the beta was over :(

    The real test will be how many players signed up for pre-orders after playing the beta and realizing they liked it... but with a group that size, it'd have to be looking pretty damn good for Blizz right now.

    Betas can be excellent demos for sale. I wasn't going to buy The Division until I played the beta - then I preordered (and I've seen enough MMOs in development to know what I was getting for the end-game). Destiny left me with some reservations and fears about content after playing the beta, but those were shouted down ("It's only beta, there's so much more than that!"), so I bought it on the strength of its engine alone (and ultimately those fears proved true).

    I kinda enjoyed that one day I played the Overwatch beta, but not enough to buy the game - it was enough to learn that Overwatch is basically just TF2 but better. And I'd imagine that for a lot of people, that's probably a compelling reason to buy.

      Yeah I never got the appeal of TF2 but Overwatch's character designs and mechanics are just so damn cool i'm ignoring the fact that it's very similar to that game I didn't love previously.

        It's exceptionally pretty, and in my opinion much more polished than TF2, too.
        Shame it doesn't have an equivalent to Mann vs Machine, but it's new... maybe in time.

        Starcraft 2 got a co-op mode, after all.

      I agree with you. I had exactly the same experience with the Battlefront and Destiny Betas. I was so put off by the Destiny Beta that I didn't even think of getting it. I bought BF and barely played it before I got super bored and no more games could be found on AUS PC search anyway, but still didn't quite regret buying it since it was bloody fun.

      I think one thing this article is really missing is the strength of the characters. Many people already have a strong connection to their favourite and this will pull a lot of them in. BF certainly didn't have this. Gotta say that I went from not giving the slightest damn about this game to being pretty sure I'll get it off the back of the beta.

    "played the tutorial" i forgot to do that, i just played it till level 22.

    Teamed up with 5 buddies and we played this non stop, had so much fun we all pre-ordered it.

    Tried the beta, turned me off the game. I thought the characters would have a decent movement speed, not a crawl like they do :( made me sad.

      Crawl? Really? Play characters like tracer. I didn't realize just how SLOW TF2 is till I the open beta finished :P

    decent game, enjoyed a few matches with friends. Not going to be paying the price blizzard is asking for a TF2 clone though. Will wait for it to come down.

    Awesome game, glad I preordered. Can't wait for release day. I tried to get back into TF2 but it's so much slower and the classes feel a lot less flexible

    I was expected not be interested in it but I cant remember the last time I had so much fun in a strictly PVP multiplayer game. Blizzard knows how to make gaming crack.

    Just remember your comparing it to Star Wars. Star Wars possibly has the biggest following of anything out there ever.

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