Is Cross-Play Important for Gaming?
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Cross-platform play is the term we use when games facilitate online multiplayer between players using different consoles. It’s not an overwhelmingly common thing in gaming at the moment which is unfortunate. I am of the belief that cross-platform play is one of the facets of this generation of gaming that should continue to grow as we move forward.

On the other side of the token is Final Fantasy XIV. There have been talks for a long while about bringing this title to the Xbox One but Microsoft has seemingly blocked this at every turn. That sucks because Final Fantasy XIV, a massively multiplayer online RPG, would likely benefit from making the game more massive. It also boasts a pretty dedicated fanbase. Wouldn’t it be nice if their passion could be used to recruit more players? Needing to buy new consoles or a PC is pretty prohibitive on that front.

 

And I understand that cross-platform play doesn’t seem like an idea that would encourage console sales. I am not the business type who could make any claims about this for sure. But I firmly believe that it would encourage game sales, as people are often drawn to multiplayer experiences and the ability to play with friends is something that enhances the experience. It can make more games appealing to people. Meanwhile, exclusives are often seem to be a deciding factor in what consoles people choose to by. Exclusives would still exist.

The constantly improving title, No Man’s Sky recently revealed that cross-platform play would be added to the game. They also announced new content. It’s worth noting that this is a game that released back in 2016 and was considered a disappointment for those who had expected more. It has continuously added free content since then, bringing more interest to the game. Cross-platform play is a good way of directing gamer attention to your title since it is a rarity. Sean Murray, a developer who also seems to be the face of No Man’s Sky, recently said, Making No Man’s Sky available to vast new audiences, and allowing those audiences to come together, has been something we’ve been building towards for a long time.” For a game where players explore the vastness of the universe and develop settlements, it will be nice to group up with friends from other consoles. Far less lonely that way.

On the other side of the token is Final Fantasy XIV. There have been talks for a long while about bringing this title to the Xbox One but Microsoft has seemingly blocked this at every turn. That sucks because Final Fantasy XIV, a massively multiplayer online RPG, would likely benefit from making the game more massive. It also boasts a pretty dedicated fanbase. Wouldn’t it be nice if their passion could be used to recruit more players? Needing to buy new consoles or a PC is pretty prohibitive on that front.

And I understand that cross-platform play doesn’t seem like an idea that would encourage console sales. I am not the business type who could make any claims about this for sure. But I firmly believe that it would encourage game sales, as people are often drawn to multiplayer experiences and the ability to play with friends is something that enhances the experience. It can make more games appealing to people. Meanwhile, exclusives are often seem to be a deciding factor in what consoles people choose to by. Exclusives would still exist.

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While part of this is a matter of accessibility, representing a kindness to people who can’t financially justify owning multiple consoles, it is also a matter of practicality. Multiplayer games rely on a healthy player base. Over time, these player bases often diminish in size which creates a snowball effect where difficulty in finding game sessions leads even more people to drop off. Cross-platform would appear to be a way of prolonging the lifespan of games as the player base benefits from the pooling of players across consoles.

Gaming will continue to be great, even if cross-platform play doesn’t become the rule rather than the exception. But this is something that most gamers I talk to desire and a healthy enthusiasm for games is something that we could all benefit from. I am sure there are people crunching the numbers on the matter. But some of the biggest games in the world right now are cross-platform. Let’s hope we see a lot more of those in our future.

Benjamin Maltbie
Benjamin Maltbie

Contributing Writer
Date: 06/18/2020

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