The beta closed on May 9, 2016.
Following the in-house alpha test, the beta test was the phase in which the game was opened up to a select number of invited players outside Blizzard for testing and feedback purposes. The beta temporarily closed by the end of 2015. The beta re-opened on February 9, 2016, with an all-new progression system, two new maps, one new game mode, several hero balance updates, and the introduction of bots.
The game's public beta began on October 27, 2015, shortly after 5pm UT. The beta started simultaneously in the Americas and Europe regions, with Asia to be added later. Upon the start of the beta, Overwatch swiftly became top game on Twitch.tv, quickly reaching more than 200,000 viewers in total.
While the main closed beta pool was very limited, special stress test weekends allowed larger numbers of players to participate:
- Closed Beta: The closed beta was composed of a small number of testers who had regular access to the public beta test. Feedback was based solely around gameplay. The number of beta testers in the closed beta was very limited, in order to ensure succinct feedback.
- Beta Test Weekends: This feedback was based primarily around hardware and tech. The number of maps and heroes available was limited. The purpose of these surges was to stress test the game's servers.
- PlayOverwatch on Twitter. (2015-10-27).
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- 2015-11-03, Over 7 Million Players signed up for Overwatch Beta. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2015-11-06
- 2016-05-13, 9.7 MILLION PEOPLE PLAYED OVERWATCH'S OPEN BETA. IGN, accessed on 2016-05-13
- 2015-10-15, Overwatch Beta Coming Soon. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2015-10-16
- Developer Update | Welcome to Beta! | Overwatch (2015-10-27)