Overwatch 2 preload time and Overwatch server downtime

When does Overwatch 1 end and when can I preload Overwatch 2? All the details on Overwatch server downtime and install period for Blizzard multiplayer FPS game

Overwatch 2 preload time and server downtime - new heroo Kiriko, a blue-haired lady with a red fox-eared hat and white kimono, holding a kunai in her mouth and winking to camera

When does Overwatch 1 end and when is the Overwatch 2 preload time? These are likely to be the questions on the lips of fans of the Blizzard FPS game. Widely hailed as one of the best multiplayer games on PC during its first years, the first Overwatch has slowly seen a drop-off, stagnating with a lack of new hero and map releases as the development team poured their focus into the sequel. Now, the Overwatch 2 release date is almost upon us – but before we get there, the first game will be shutting down early in preparation.

That’s right, once Overwatch 2 arrives you will no longer be able to play the original game. Fortunately, you won’t have to re-buy anything due to the Overwatch 2 free-to-play model which the developers say has made them a lot happier. However, you will have to unlock new heroes via the free track of the Overwatch 2 battle pass or by purchasing the premium track to get immediate access – and players who are jumping into Overwatch for the first time with this new game will be required to play approximately 100 matches to unlock the entire base game’s cast.

These changes have proven divisive among the game’s community, with some prominent members such as Overwatch pro player, coach, and commentator Jake ‘Jake’ Lyon saying that the free-to-play model is a necessity for the game to survive in a modern market and that “for the game to succeed long term the monetisation model must incentivise the speed of the new content and patch cycle.” Others have expressed concerns about the seeming intent to force long-time players into spending more money to ‘stay competitive’ by unlocking the latest heroes.

When does Overwatch 1 end and how long is the Overwatch server downtime?

The original Overwatch end-of-service date is October 3. The servers are expected to go offline at approximately 9am PT / 12pm ET / 5pm BST / 6pm CEST on October 3. The Overwatch 2 servers come online on October 4. Service for Overwatch 2 is expected to begin at approximately 12pm PT / 3pm ET / 8pm BST / 9pm CEST on October 4.

When can I preload Overwatch 2?

The Overwatch 2 preload time is September 30 at 1:30pm PT / 4:30pm ET / 9:30pm BST / 10:30pm CEST for existing Overwatch PC users and Watchpoint Pack owners. Preloads for existing console users are expected to begin on October 4 at 9am PT / 12pm PT / 5pm BST / 6pm CEST. New players on both PC and console will have to wait until the launch time on October 4 at 12pm PT / 3pm ET / 8pm BST / 9pm CEST.

The Overwatch 2 install size is expected to be approximately 50 GB on PC and 30GB on consoles. You will also require an active Battlenet account and SMS protection enabled – this is part of the new Overwatch 2 ‘Defense Matrix’ system designed to “combat disruptive behaviour.” Blizzard has also provided an Overwatch 2 ready check to make sure you’re up to speed ahead of release.

Blizzard says it hopes to see Fortnite-style Overwatch 2 crossovers in the future, and that the new Overwatch 2 mythic skins take over a year to make, but will be included in the battle pass rather than being sold separately to make them a central focus of each respective season. Be sure to take a look at our Overwatch 2 tier list when the game releases so you know who’s strong in the launch meta.