The ranked Competitive mode for Overwatch is not present in the game's release today. Why? It wasn't ready. Blizzard pulled the mode after receiving a lot of critical feedback on various aspects. When will it return? Possibly in late June.
According to Game Informer, Blizzard game director Jeff Kaplan explained in a Q&A video on Facebook why the mode was pulled before release and why it's going to arrive, for free, post-release. Kaplan doesn't give a definitive release date but notes that the Competitive mode may arrive in late June.
Competitive mode is the current focus of the Overwatch team. It’s the most important for us to add to the game. Players saw that we tried to get it in for closed beta, and we had a version in and working. The feedback that we were seeing was a little bit critical of some of the decisions we made, and we took that to heart.
It's impressive that instead of trying to force-feed in a mode or feature that doesn't work, Blizzard just took the criticism to heart, held off on the mode for Overwatch's launch and will re-launch it when they feel it's right and ready.
One of the biggest issues that Kaplan brings up is about the Competitive mode's seasonal length. Blizzard wanted to go with very short seasons that only span a month, and gamers were not having it at all. The Overwatch community wanted something longer, and Kaplan explains that while the month-long seasons work well for Hearthstone they may have to adopt something different for Overwatch's eSports season to make it more palatable to fans, saying...
One of the things that we want to change is the season length. We heard a lot of complaints from the community that they felt that one-month seasons were too short. We thought there was a lot of cool about one-month seasons. Particularly, Hearthstone does it really well. This game is different than Hearthstone, so we decided to go with seasons that will probably be about three months. Even more specific than that, there probably be a two-and-a-half month season with a couple of weeks off in between.
Three months seems about right. A month will zip by in no time and it seems like it would stifle the momentum of some gamers who may not get into their grove until a month and a half later. It forces everyone to compete in Overwatch really quickly as opposed to having a slow-build of competitive tension that some other games maintain leading up to their big season finales.
Of course, it seems a little premature to be thinking about Overwatch as an eSports superstar when the game just launched for home consoles and PC and we don't even know if it will maintain a long-lasting audience to make an eSports run viable.
Nevertheless, Blizzard feels as if the Competitive mode needs to launch and be done right so that the game will have a proper life on the competitive circuits. While there's no definitive release date on Overwatch's ranked Competitive mode, late June seems to be the target for now.