Overwatch’s Next Big Patch Will Require A Full Reinstall Of The Game

Overwatch’s Next Big Patch Will Require A Full Reinstall Of The Game

Overwatch has had a handful of sizeable patches in the past, but the next major one — which presumably will include new hero Ashe — is going to necessitate a full reinstall of the game.

Blizzard chalks the inconvenience up to under-the-hood changes that go deeper than just a fresh coat of paint.

“The next major patch will have some pretty fundamental changes to the game client,” a Blizzard customer support rep said on Overwatch‘s forums. “The number of back-end changes we’re putting in is substantial enough that we can’t just patch over the current content efficiently. As a result, when the next patch comes out, the client will fully reinstall itself to handle these changes. We know that this isn’t ideal for people on metered connections, so hopefully this announcement helps you prepare for this coming update.”

On the upside, Overwatch‘s file size isn’t particularly huge. Unlike most modern triple-A games — which often clock in at over 50GB — Overwatch has historically weighed in at a svelte 13GB.

Kotaku reached out to Blizzard for more information about what exactly is changing so fundamentally as to necessitate this, but the company was not able to provide any additional information before publish time. My guess? This is about B.O.B. He’s a big, effortlessly charming robo-boy, and the game’s old foundations just can’t contain him.

Overwatch‘s next major patch does not currently have a release date, but parts of it, such as new hero Ashe, are in testing on the PC public test server right now.


  • they changed the file structure of WoW a few years back. they timed it for an expansion launch but OW doesn’t have expansions so I can see why Blizzard has to do such changes via a patch.

    the good thing with blizzard games is that it’s device agnostic. if you have a friend with a fully patched Windows version of a blizzard title then you can just copy it into your own computer, point to the launcher to the folder and let it verify (if necessary).

    • The WoW change was to move to the CASC system that they introduced with Diablo III and Starcraft II. I would have thought Overwatch already used CASC if that’s why this is necessary.

      • I mostly used it as example, I doubt OW is doing a file structure change, after all it is a modern game as you point out.

        it’s just WoW has already set a precedent in doing under the hood changes so for them to overhaul or even make minor adjustments isn’t surprising

    • The WoW change though did not require you to re-download the entire game.

      This does if the reporting is accurate.

      • that’s true although

        a) OW is fairly light, it’s just a little over 20GB on my HDD, and I’m pretty sure with good compression the download shouldn’t be that big… compared to a pre expansion patch from WoW which can be 15GB+

        b) the forum post is really light on details so I’m not even sure if it’s a full re download (it certainly does sound like it mind you)

  • Meh, these things happen. Sucks for people who are bandwidth limited, but considering OW is a multiplayer game, there shouldn’t be too many people who can’t download 7GB or so.

  • Perhaps OW is preparing to have improved multithread functionality? WoW’s patch 8.1 is basically the first time for Blizzard to my knowledge where CPU multithreading is properly supported (yes multithreading currently exists in WoW etc but that is auxiliary functions and not the core game itself).

  • Pretty sure if you download the PTR client, you can end up copying those files over to the live folder, and the update will end up being a lot less. I’ll be waiting to see if this is the case so when the patch goes live, it’ll probably end up going up the front page of the Overwatch subreddit. It’s worked this way for a WoW patch updates

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