Tesla's Optimus Robot Everything From Tesla AI Day Bella Hadid's Spray-on Dress Hasbro's Indiana Jones Toy 'Hocus Pocus 2' Review AirPods Pro 2 Discount Meal Delivery Services Vitamins for Flu Season
Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?
No, thank you

Get Overwatch 2 Beta Access Today by Watching the Pros Play

Blizzard is giving away Overwatch 2 beta tokens to select Overwatch League viewers. We'll tell you when to watch and how to sign up.

Overwatch heroes Brigitte, Zenyatta and Sojourn
See how Overwatch 2 plays in the hands of pros and earn beta access at the same time.
Blizzard Entertainment

We've had the Overwatch 2 beta for a whole week now, but some people are still waiting for access. The hero-based, team-focused first-person shooter was announced a little over 900 days ago, and the beta is the first chance fans have had to check out everything new.

The game was first announced at 2019's BlizzCon, but news about the game has been hard to come by. Granted, since then, there's been a pandemic and a major lawsuit about workplace culture, not to mention Microsoft buying Activision Blizzard. But past and current fans have been ravenous for more glimpses of the upcoming sequel.

If you still want to get into the beta, you'll have a chance over the next few days by watching pros in the Overwatch League, the professional league for Blizzard's shooter. The pros have been practicing on a version of Overwatch 2 for a few months, so you'll also get the chance to check out what strategies and compositions are being played at the highest level. 

Here's everything you need to know.

How do I get the Overwatch 2 PVP beta?

You may have already earned access to the beta by opting into the beta selection process on the official Overwatch website. If you were selected, you should get an email from Blizzard with instructions on how to access the beta. Overwatch developers have said that they will release access in waves, so you might still gain access this way later. 

If you weren't selected, don't panic -- you still have other chances to get into the Overwatch 2. For the opening weekend of the Overwatch League, Blizzard is giving away beta tokens for people who watch at least an hour of select games:

  • Los Angeles Gladiators vs. New York Excel: May 5 at noon PT
  • Vancouver Titans vs. Boston Uprising: May 6 at 1:30 p.m. PT
  • Washington Justice vs. Toronto Defiant: May 7 at noon PT
  • Florida Mayhem vs. Paris Eternal: May 8 at 1:30 p.m. PT

Overwatch League (more commonly called OWL) matches stream on YouTube, and you'll need to link your Blizzard account to your YouTube account to be eligible. Note that beta access is not guaranteed: Blizzard is giving away 1,500 beta tokens every hour, and you have to watch on a computer, on the YouTube mobile app or on YouTube's mobile website. The pros have had access to an earlier build of Overwatch 2, so it's also a great opportunity to see the early high-level strategies for the game.

You can also email Blizzard to enter yourself for beta access. You'll be put into the same pool as people watching the Overwatch League. To enter, send an email with the subject "OWL Beta Sweepstakes Entry" to OWLBeta@teamdigital.com and include:

  • First and last name
  • Date of birth
  • Jurisdiction of residence (e.g. USA)
  • Blizzard BattleTag

If you miss out on this round, look out for future beta tests.

When is the Overwatch 2 beta release date?

The beta opened at 11 a.m. PT on Tuesday, April 26, and runs through Tuesday, May 17. Blizzard will be granting access throughout the beta, so if you don't get in on Day 1, keep an eye on your email over the next few weeks -- you might get access later.

How do I download the Overwatch 2 beta?

First, you'll need a copy of Overwatch to access the beta. If you don't already have one, Blizzard has said that players invited to the beta will be able to download a free trial of Overwatch. From there, you're just a few steps away from downloading the beta:

1. Log in to your Battle.net account and navigate to Overwatch on the game launcher.

2. In the bottom left, click the Game Version drop-down.

3. Select Overwatch 2 Tech Beta to install.

4. When the download is complete, hit the blue Play button to start.

Screenshot of Overwatch launcher Install button

If you were selected for the beta, you can change the game version to Overwatch 2 Tech Beta and download the game.

Screenshot by Adam Benjamin/CNET

Is the Overwatch 2 beta PC-only?

Sorry, console players: The first Overwatch 2 beta is exclusive to PC. However, Blizzard has said future betas will include consoles.

What's in the Overwatch 2 beta?

The beta is our first chance to check out the new 5v5 gameplay, featuring one tank, two damage heroes and two supports. It's also the debut of Sojourn, the new railgun-wielding damage hero and Overwatch's first Black female character. Players will get to try out the new Push game mode on the maps Rome and Toronto, and new payload maps like Circuit Royale and Midtown.

In addition to new content, the Overwatch 2 beta will show off reworks of older Overwatch heroes. For instance, Sombra gets new hack and EMP mechanics, Orisa trades in her deployable shield for a javelin, and Doomfist gets moved from the damage category into tank. 

What's notably not in the beta for Overwatch 2: assault maps. The much-maligned game mode has been removed from the sequel. Sayonara, Hanamura. 

And that's it! Remember that this is a test build, so not everything will be polished, not everything will be included and not all changes in the beta will be final.