As companies continue to create amazing multiplayer experiences they also continue to work on bringing the gaming community together through cross-play. Allowing you to share some of the best gaming experiences with friends. No matter what console they play on. Bringing about a future where the console wars may be a thing of the past. Here’s everything you should know about cross-play.
A Unified Gaming Community
For as long as gaming has been around ‘The Console Wars’ has been a heated topic of discussion. The costs of consoles oftentimes meant gamers sided with the console their friends were playing on, or what exclusives the individual console offered. In the present, that generally means you side with Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo. But somewhere along the way, cross-play was introduced and things began to change.
One of my earliest experiences with cross-play was when Final Fantasy XI Online released on the PlayStation 2. An MMORPG that would end up being cross-play compatible with PS2, PC, and eventually with Xbox 360. It was the first time that I can remember where console gamers were allowed to play the same game on a competing console or PC.
Nowadays companies have been doing more and more to bring gamers together through cross-play. Giving us an ever-increasing library of games to play with our friends no matter the console. There’s something absolutely amazing about being able to jump in to hunt a behemoth on my PC in Dauntless only to continue my progress on Nintendo Switch later that night from bed.
With that, we’re going to explain everything you need to know about Cross-Play and what to look for in order to find the best cross-play experiences for you and your friends. So you can play games together no matter what console you’re on.
Let me start by saying that cross-play isn’t perfect. There are still issues with sharing Game ID’s, chatting between platforms and partying up in a group across various games. That is where we are with cross-play. It’s better than nothing and there are solutions like Discord that enables chat via a third-party application when a game makes it difficult to seamlessly integrate a chat or party feature.
Let’s start off with the good. The best part about cross-play is that the list of games with cross-play support is constantly growing. Gamers can now play some of the biggest multiplayer games with their friends on competing platforms. Some titles even offer cross-save and cross-progression. Meaning that if you rank up in Call of Duty Modern Warfare / Warzone on say, your PC, your multiplayer progression will reflect the progress you made on PC when you switch to your Xbox.
Cross-play isn’t without its flaws. Some games still make you jump through hoops in order to get going. For example Call of Duty: Modern Warfare / Warzone requires you to create an Activision ID on its site and invite your friends that way. Other games are far worse off. Games like Dead By Daylight are technically cross-play between Steam and Windows PC players, except you can’t talk or invite your friends to play together. Which defeats the purpose of labeling something as cross-play.
Aside from some of the functionality hindering aspects of cross-play, there is an ongoing topic as to whether cross-play between console and PC players is a good idea. The idea of gamers playing with a controller going up against mouse and keyboard players is often considered a huge disadvantage. In co-operative games, it isn’t such a big deal, but where it comes into question is in competitive multiplayer.
Though not all competitive games have found solutions to balance out games, games like Call of Duty Modern Warfare / Warzone have measures in place to curve this particular issue. Their solution is to give you the option to select your preferred control style, controller or mouse & keyboard, and matching you with players who’ve opted for a similar control style.
What to Look For
The main thing you should know about cross-play is that it finally exists. Although I have a few recommendations for when you and your friends go looking for games to play. I recommend doing a little research on the features cross-play titles may have. How easy is it to find my friends in-game on another platform? How easy is it to communicate in-game with my friends? Will my progress be saved if I continue on a different platform? The fewer hoops you have to jump through the better. Games like Dauntless, Fortnite, and Call of Duty Modern Warfare / Warzone have gone to great lengths to give players an almost seamless cross-play experience, but some of these issues are still lingering.
Be sure to check out our most recent list of best cross-play games worth playing.