UPDATE 2nd June: Actually, it turns out Overwatch's competitive mode is back on for June, according to a tweet from Blizzard.
Sorry about this! Competitive Play will be coming later in *JUNE*, not July. Apologies again for the error. ?— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) June 1, 2016
UPDATE 1st June: The estimated arrival time of Competitive mode has changed to mid-to-late July, according to the official Overwatch Twitter account.
ORIGINAL STORY 24th May: Overwatch Competitive mode will return "sometime towards the end of June", game director Jeff Kaplan has said.
Competitive mode appeared at the end of closed beta but was omitted from open beta because of player feedback. In a live interview on Facebook last night Kaplan expanded on the reasons why.
"So a lot - a lot has changed," he said. "Competitive mode is the current focus of the Overwatch team, and it's the most important thing for us to add to the game right now.
"So our first big content update for Overwatch will be Competitive mode. I don't want to promise an exact date because I'm sure whatever date I say right now will be wrong! My rough commitment or not-commitment would be sometime towards the end of June - middle-to-end of June we want to have Competitive mode in. We already have it in internally.
"Some of the things we wanted to change: one was the season length. We heard a lot of complaints from the community that they felt one-month seasons were too short. We thought there was a lot of cool about one-month seasons - in particular Hearthstone does it really well. But we realise our game is different from Hearthstone so we decided to go with seasons that are probably going to be more around three months. Even more specific than that: you'll probably have a two-and-a-half month actual season with maybe a couple of weeks off in between, just to build excitement and give a little bit of a reset.
"We're also looking into some of the formats," he added. "We like Sudden Death but we're re-evaluating how frequently it happens and saying, 'Can we have Sudden Death happen less frequently? And can we have Sudden Death resolve itself on the actual game-mode-type that you're playing? So if you're playing Assault, can we have resolution on Assault? If you're playing Escort, can we have a resolution on that?"
Competitive mode allows players to climb ranks during a season of play. Typically it's where the more serious and coordinated fighting goes down. Because of that it also alleviates some of the pressure of Quick Play games, which then become a place where you can try things - characters and strategies - out. But Competitive mode had issues; the one I ran into most was people dropping from teams but their place not being refilled, which left a team a gun short for the entire best-of-three match. In those cases the outcome was usually pre-ordained.
Overwatch has launched on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
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