The official Chinese branch of Blizzard has confirmed that Overwatch will be free to play in the country for the entire month of May.
During the trial period, the entire roster of heroes will be unlocked for all players. In addition, the developer will be making all fourteen maps available for the masses as well. However, the Competitive Mode will be disabled for the entire month.
Any progress made during the duration of the event will carry forward. This means that newcomers will get to keep any items or levels achieved should they decide to purchase Overwatch afterwards.
Those residing outside of China, hoping to see a similar trial take place in the West, should not keep their hopes up. Responding to the question on Reddit, an official representative confirmed that the time-limited event has only been planned out for China.
It is not like Overwatch has not received free trials in the West before, but those have been significantly shorter. The game has never received an entire month of free play, and has usually promoted weekends for players to test its waters at no charge.
Overwatch already has an incredible following in China. A couple of months back, it was reported that the game had sold over five million copies in the country since release. The overwhelming success in China is a great achievement for the developer for various reasons. Firstly, as we have come to see, it is difficult for a paid title to get so much traction in the country. Secondly, the Chinese video games market is mostly dominated by mobile games. Overwatch breaking that mold is an achievement in itself.
Released worldwide in May of last year, Overwatch crossed ten million players across all platforms in just the first couple of weeks. The latest figure of the community is over twenty-five million players globally, confirmed by Blizzard itself earlier this year.