Overwatch has had a pretty huge past week. It’s switched over to a one-hero limit in Quick Play, will get changes to Play Of The Game, is adding a new Arcade Mode, and a new character is joining the roster. Did I say that Overwatch had a huge past week?
The only problem is that many of these changes and additions won’t come directly to console. The new character in Sombra along with the awesome-sounding Arcade mode will come to the Public Test Realm (PTR) first, meaning many a diehard console Overwatch player has to wait while PC players get a chance to test things out.
As it turns out, the reason the PTG doesn’t come to console is due to the certification process that games on those platforms have to go through.
“Console should go live around the same time as PC (sometimes curveballs happen but we always shoot for the same time),” Jeff Kaplan said on the Battle.net forums. He was, of course, referring to Sombra hitting console at the same time at PC, excluding PTR access.
“But currently we cannot PTR on the console. It’s a weird chicken-and-egg problem. A big reason we PTR is to pass the console certification process. We’re not in a position currently to pass certification, put a PTR up and then re-cert. I know it’s confusing and frustrating. We’ll keep brainstorming to see if there is room for improvement there,” he explained.
There’s no doubting that Blizzard isn’t the only developer frustrated by the entire process, but consoles being as closed as they are explains the certification process. Sony and Microsoft with the PS4 and Xbox One, respectively, appear to be loosening the shackles a bit, but it still remains an expensive process for developers to make small changes and updates to their games on the console.
The whole point of the PTR for Overwatch is to offer an opportunity for players to test out new features, changes and improvements, meaning there’s a lot happening to the game over a very short period of time. That stands to make it incredibly unlikely that we’ll ever see the Overwatch PTR on consoles.