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Is Overwatch 2 Free If You Own Overwatch 1? – The Ultimate Guide

The Short Answer

No, Overwatch 2 is not free for Overwatch 1 owners. You only get minor founder‘s benefits like skins and portrait frames. To access all Overwatch 2 content, you need to purchase the optional Watchpoint Pack or Battle Pass.

What Exactly is Overwatch 2?

Hey friend, as a gaming enthusiast myself, I know there‘s been some confusion about what Overwatch 2 really is.

Overwatch 2 is the sequel to the popular team-based shooter Overwatch. It features upgraded graphics, new multiplayer maps and modes, plus story-driven co-op PvE missions.

However, the core 5v5 competitive multiplayer remains largely unchanged from the original Overwatch. So in many ways, Overwatch 2 feels more like a major expansion rather than a brand new game.

Let‘s break down the key changes:

New Stuff in Overwatch 2

  • 5 new multiplayer maps set in locations like India, Toronto, and Monte Carlo
  • 2 new multiplayer modes – Push and Circuit Royal
  • 3 new heroes – Sojourn, Junker Queen, Kiriko
  • Major graphical enhancements including improved lighting and textures
  • New co-op PvE missions and Hero Missions
  • Over 35+ new skins and other cosmetics

What‘s Staying the Same

  • 5v5 team-based competitive multiplayer
  • Most of the original maps and modes like Escort, Control, Hybrid etc.
  • Most Overwatch 1 heroes make the jump to the sequel
  • Similar art style and core gameplay loop

So if you mainly enjoyed Overwatch for its PvP multiplayer, Overwatch 2 won‘t feel dramatically different. The core experience remains intact.

Do Overwatch 1 Owners Get Overwatch 2 for Free?

Now, coming to your key question – unfortunately no, Overwatch 2 is not completely free for existing Overwatch players.

However, Overwatch 1 owners do get some founder‘s benefits in Overwatch 2:

  • Overwatch Legendary Edition Skin (Soldier 76)
  • Overwatch Legendary Edition Skin (Bastion)
  • Overwatch Legendary Edition Portrait Frame
  • Jungle Queen Symmetra Epic Skin
  • Thunder Doomfist Epic Skin

These are exclusive Overwatch 1 veteran rewards not available to new players.

However, you won‘t get the premium Battle Pass or 2000 Overwatch Coins which are only for fresh Overwatch 2 players.

Overwatch 1 Player Count

To give you an idea of scale, Overwatch 1 had accumulated:

  • Over 60 million players as of 2021
  • Over 10 million monthly active users at its peak

So a significant chunk of the Overwatch community owns the original game.

Why Isn‘t Overwatch 2 Free for Overwatch 1 Players?

In an AMA, Game Director Aaron Keller explained that they built Overwatch 2 from scratch rather than just expanding the original:

"The way that we built this game is that it‘s a sequel rather than an expansion. All of the content, all of the maps, all of the heroes, all of that stuff had to be built from scratch."

Essentially, Blizzard sees Overwatch 2 as an entirely new product rather than an upgrade to an existing game. That‘s why existing players don‘t get all Overwatch 2 content for free.

Of course, as a business, Blizzard also wants to drive additional revenue through new game purchases rather than give away everything for free to the Overwatch 1 player base.

What Do You Get with the Paid Versions?

Overwatch 2 has 2 optional paid packages:

1. Watchpoint Pack – $39.99

The Watchpoint Pack provides:

  • Season 1 Premium Battle Pass + Instant Hero Unlocks
  • 2000 Overwatch 2 Virtual Currency
  • Overwatch 2 Player Icon
  • 5 Legendary Skins

2. Battle Pass – $9.99 per season

The Battle Pass has both a free and premium track:

  • Free track – Immediate access to Kiriko, in-game challenges, cosmetic rewards
  • Premium track – Over 80 additional cosmetic items, Mythic skin, currency bonuses

So in summary, the paid versions grant you access to the first season of new heroes, cosmetic items, currency, and other benefits.

Should You Buy Overwatch 2 as an Overwatch 1 Player?

Personally, as someone who‘s put hundreds of hours into the original Overwatch, here‘s my take:

The free upgrade is plenty if you just enjoy hopping into quick play matches. Since the core 5v5 multiplayer remains similar, you aren‘t really missing out on much.

However, if you really want those shiny new maps, modes, co-op missions and tons of new skins, the Watchpoint Pack offers great value. I found it worthwhile to pay a one-time fee and support the developers for the hundreds of hours of entertainment Overwatch has provided me over the years.

The Battle Pass is nice for periodic content drops to keep things fresh each season. But it‘s not essential if you aren‘t too into cosmetics.

So in summary:

  • Sticking to the free version is fine if you mainly enjoy competitive PvP
  • Watchpoint Pack makes sense for new PvE content and skins
  • Battle Pass for fresh cosmetics each season

Choose based on what appeals to you personally as a player. There‘s no right or wrong answer!

What Happens to Overwatch 1 Now?

With Overwatch 2‘s launch, Blizzard has discontinued Overwatch 1 and removed it from sale.

All existing Overwatch 1 players have automatically been migrated to Overwatch 2. This means you can no longer play the original Overwatch.

The good news is that all your stats, progression and cosmetics carry forward to Overwatch 2 thanks to shared cross-progression. So you get to retain all the hard work you put into the original game.

Do Overwatch 1 Discs Work with Overwatch 2?

Since Overwatch 2 is an entirely new application, your Overwatch 1 game discs won‘t work with it. The discs are only valid for the now discontinued Overwatch 1.

However, any digital version of Overwatch 1 will automatically update to Overwatch 2. You can download and play Overwatch 2 without needing to buy any new discs.

What If You Buy Overwatch 1 Now?

Blizzard has removed the original Overwatch from sale across all platforms. So it‘s no longer possible to purchase Overwatch 1.

Any Overwatch 1 keys purchased now will simply upgrade to Overwatch 2 once redeemed.

This means new players don‘t need to buy the first Overwatch. You can just directly download the free version of Overwatch 2 from Battle.net.

Does Your Overwatch 1 Progress Carry Over?

Yes, the great news is that all your existing progress and unlocks from Overwatch 1 carry forward into Overwatch 2 due to shared progression across both games.

Here are all the things that transfer over:

  • Player level
  • Competitive skill rating and rank
  • Stats like win-loss record, kills etc.
  • Achievements and trophies
  • Unlocked skins, emotes, highlight intros, sprays etc.
  • Earned credits and tokens

So you retain all the hard work you‘ve put into collecting cool cosmetics and climbing the competitive ladder over the years.

The only things that don‘t carry over are your campaign progress and tutorial completion from Overwatch 1. But your multiplayer accomplishments remain intact.

Key Takeaways on Overwatch 2‘s Free Upgrade

Let‘s recap the key points:

  • Overwatch 2 is not completely free for Overwatch 1 players
  • You get exclusive veteran skins and items not available to new players
  • To access all Overwatch 2 content, you need to buy the optional Watchpoint or Battle Pass
  • Your original stats, rank, skins, etc. will carry over to Overwatch 2
  • Overwatch 1 is discontinued, so you can no longer play it

So that sums up whether you get Overwatch 2 for free if you owned the original game. Hope this guide helped explain what existing players do and don‘t get in the new launch. Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions!