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Overwatch beta going offline until January

Blizzard's new shooter is taking an "extended break" starting next week.

Blizzard plans to put the Overwatch beta on a hiatus that will last until sometime in January, the company announced today.

The "extended break," as Blizzard describes it in a blog post, comes after more than a month of testing, with the closed beta having opened in late October. Since then, more than 900,000 games have been played, providing Blizzard with large amounts of "raw data" and feedback from fans.

"This phase of development has been key, but now it's time to analyze the data we have, dig into your feedback even further, and put that knowledge to use as best we can," Blizzard says.

It'll do this by temporarily shutting down the beta on Thursday, December 10, at 9 AM PST. "During this downtime, we're looking forward to making more improvements to the game, as well as continuing to work on in-development features like spectating and progression," Blizzard explains.

The plan is for the closed beta to return in "mid-to-late January." Everyone currently in the beta will still have access then, and more people will be added for that test. However, Blizzard says, "[T]he exact timing and how many players are invited will be determined by our testing needs." If you're hoping to get in before the break begins next week, you're unfortunately out of luck; Blizzard won't be adding any additional players to the current pool of testers before things wrap up.

Blizzard revealed in November that, in addition to PC, Overwatch would be coming to Xbox One and PS4. Surprisingly, we also learned that the game will not, as expected, be free-to-play; instead, it will be available as a more traditional paid game. There won't be cross-platform play across PC and consoles due to the advantage computer players might have.