Blizzard Entertainment's upcoming multiplayer first-person shooter Overwatch is shaping up to be a rousing success, if its recently concluded beta is any indication. Running for just under a week, the open beta attracted 9.7 million participants across PC, PS4 and Xbox One — the biggest beta ever for a Blizzard game.
Besides shattering Blizzard's own internal records, this figure has shot past figures for EA's Star Wars Battlefront (9 million), Ubisoft's The Division (6.4 million) and Activision's Destiny (4.6 million.) It is worth noting that each of the three beta tests ran for different durations. Still, the multi-platform test's numbers are a good sign for the company.
Blizzard revealed that testers clocked in over 4.9 billion minutes over the course of over 37 million matches. On average, each player put in about eight hours of game time during the beta period, which lasted from 5 to 10 May.
"We're thrilled that such an incredible number of players from around the globe got a chance to check out Overwatch during the Open Beta," Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime said in a statement. "Our mission was to make sure as many console and PC gamers as possible could experience the full game ahead of its launch — the response was overwhelming, and we hope that everyone had a blast."
Open beta periods are often used by developers as a stress test for its servers and an opportunity to weed out any potential bugs or glitches before the game is officially launched. The beta test also sparked a massive player discussion around Overwatch's Bastion and has already had fans picking their favourite characters — indicating just how deeply invested fans are in the game before it even hits shelves.
Known for its rich story-based franchises and signature Pixar-esque storytelling capabilities, Blizzard has continued to flesh out the game's character lore leading up to its release with a series of animated shorts, digital comics and a graphic novel, Overwatch: First Strike. The game features a colourful roster of heroes, each sporting his or her own unique skills and backstories.
The full game will be released on 24 May.