Which Video Game Titles Could Benefit from Going Cross-Platform?

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by Staff & Contributors

in Gaming

Cross-platform video gameplay is the term used to describe a video game title that allows gamers to play against one another simultaneously using different platforms or devices. There are video games that allow dedicated desktop PC gamers to log in to the same game servers as those players using Xbox One consoles. However, in most instances, cross-platform video games will remain within the publisher’s domain. For example, Sony may permit a cross-platform game where PlayStation 4 and PS Vita players can go head-to-head against one another.

Cross-platform multiplayer video gaming has added a new dimension of engagement and immersion to certain titles, making video games more appealing to older demographics too. In today’s video game development world where the architecture of games consoles is increasingly adopting the same approach to that of desktop PCs, what is stopping all video games becoming cross-platform? Only the console manufacturers’ revenues, if truth be told. If each console was to accept cross-platform as a huge boon to video gaming, there is every chance it would be looked upon favourably by the next generation in 20 years’ time. It would certainly enhance the franchises of the best titles, expanding their respective potential audiences as a result. A professor has also proved that video games help to enhance individuals’ cognitive functions. So cross-platform gaming could even be healthy for the brain.

The success of Fortnite and PUBG

Forbes recently interviewed Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney, who said that cross-platform opportunities between Xbox One and PS4 were only being made possible thanks to Fortnite Battle Royale. The Fortnite brand has become one of the most successful cross-platform titles in recent memory. There are 35 cross-platform opportunities at present for Fortnite fans, allowing multiplayer between desktop PC, smartphone and consoles. However, cross-platform capabilities between PS4 and Xbox One gamers remains strangely lacking. Eurogamer were told by Sony Interactive Entertainment America CEO, Shawn Layden, that Sony was “looking at a lot of the possibilities” to find a solution that is “accepted by [their] gaming community” whilst “supporting [their] business”.

Fortnite was certainly the catalyst for Sony, allowing its PS4 users to start playing against those on rival devices. BBC revealed Sony eventually backed down and eased its cross-play stance, with Fortnite becoming the first title to offer comprehensive cross-play on PS4. As of the end of November 2018, Fortnite reached a milestone of having more than 200 million active players across all platforms, gaining 75 million new players in less than six months according to PCGamesN. It is a game that’s truly designed for success. It is culturally relevant, free-to-play and creates so many shareable moments that have fostered a vibrant Fortnite community online.

Another title to successfully make the transition to cross-platform multiplayer gaming is PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG). The iOS and Android PUBG apps allow gameplay between both types of mobile devices and are capable of handling massive 100-player matches. However, PUBG players on PC cannot yet compete with those on the Xbox One. GameRevolution believes cross-pairing between PC and Xbox One is unlikely in the future too due to the disparity between controller and mouse/keyboard controls on desktop.

Rocket League puts cross-platform system on hold until 2019

One online multiplayer game that appeared destined for cross-platform status was Rocket League. Engadget was first to reveal Rocket League’s cross-platform delay until 2019, with the game’s developer, Psyonix, keen to have a futureproof cross-platform system in place in case Sony approves full PS4 cross-play in the coming months. Desktop PC, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch gamers can already play Rocket League together and there are plans afoot to move the game to China soon, expanding its player base. Rocket League already boasts a big eSports following thanks to its Rocket League Championship Series which is also covered by eSports betting operator Betway, along with other leading online multiplayers such as League of Legends and Dota 2. Statista believes that global eSports betting revenues will grow threefold between 2016 and 2020, with revenues of $550 million in 2016 and estimated revenues of $1.81 billion in 2020. It is little surprise given the enthusiasm and expertise of the world’s gaming fanatics.

Could Overwatch and other titles benefit?

In terms of other online multiplayers that could benefit from going cross-platform, Blizzard has confirmed it is “brainstorming solutions” to enable Overwatch to be played seamlessly using cross-platform profiles, including transferring skins. However, Jeff Kaplan, part of the Overwatch team, admitted that the developers are “not crazy about [cross-platform action]”. The issue with Overwatch is its heavy reliance on precision controls that makes it so popular on desktop PCs. Translating that to consoles such as the PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch could prove troublesome.

The FIFA franchise would be another title that would benefit hugely from cross-platform gaming, allowing friends to play each other online regardless of whether they owned an Xbox One or PS4. Currently, the franchise offers no cross-platform play whatsoever but it appears the game’s developers are craving its inclusion. Matt Prior, creative director, FIFA 19, said to Newsweek that although there are “a lot of issues to work through with various first parties”, cross-platform gaming would make the FIFA community “that much broader” and “much more compelling”. Compelling is very much the word when it comes to cross-platform gaming; setting aside the differences of consoles and allowing the cream of the crop to do battle 24/7. What could be better than that?

 

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