What Is Cross-Platform Play in Gaming and How Does It Work

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In the gaming world, the days of tangled cables and sluggish Bluetooth connections are long gone. The buzzword now? Cross-platform play. But what is it, and why is it important for you as a Gamer?

As multiplayer games rise in popularity, “cross-platform play” has become a term you’ve likely heard. But what does it really mean? And do all games offer it?

This article dives into the world of cross-platform play, demystifying this game-changing feature that’s reshaping how we connect and play. Let’s delve into the intricacies of cross-platform play and understand its impact on the gaming world.

What is Cross-Platform Play?

Cross-platform play, also known as cross-play, is a feature in the world of gaming that allows gamers to play the same game together regardless of the platform they are using.

This means that someone playing on a PlayStation can play with another person who is on an Xbox, PC, or even a mobile device like a smartphone or a tablet. Cross-platform play bridges the gap between different gaming systems, breaking down the walls that once separated gamers based on their preferred platform.

Significance of Cross-Platform Play in the Gaming Industry

The significance of cross-platform play in the gaming industry cannot be understated. It has revolutionized the way gamers interact and play, expanding the potential player base for games and creating more opportunities for interaction and competition.

It enhances the gaming experience by making it more inclusive and accessible. Cross-platform play also benefits game developers and publishers by widening the audience for their games, potentially leading to increased game sales and a longer game lifespan.

Examples of Popular Games that Support Cross-Platform Play

Several popular games now support cross-platform play, paving the way for a more interconnected gaming landscape.

So, here is a list of popular video games that support cross-platform:

  1. Rocket League: This vehicular soccer game supports cross-play across PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch​​.
  2. Fortnite: This widely popular battle royale game supports cross-play across PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and mobile devices​​.
  3. Sea Of Thieves: This pirate-themed action-adventure game supports cross-play between Xbox and PC players​​.
  4. Gwent: The Witcher Card Game: This online card game based on a side game from The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt supports cross-play between PlayStation, Xbox, PC, and mobile platforms, although cross-platform support does not extend between consoles themselves​.
  5. Call Of Duty: Warzone 2.0: This battle royale shooter game allows cross-play between PC, PlayStation, and Xbox players​​.
  6. Among Us: This online multiplayer party game supports cross-play across PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PC, and mobile devices​​.
  7. No Man’s Sky: This exploration survival game supports cross-play across PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and PC, although console players have to play in smaller groups than PC players​​.
  8. Dead By Daylight: This multiplayer horror game allows cross-play between PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and PC, but mobile players are limited to cross-play between Android and iOS only​​.
  9. Minecraft: Bedrock Edition: This sandbox game supports cross-play across PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PC, and mobile devices​​.
  10. Genshin Impact: is a free-to-play open-world action role-playing game that is available on PC, PS4, PS5, mobile, and Switch. Cross-play is supported between all platforms.

What is Cross-platform Play/ Cross-play?

Cross-platform play, also known as cross-play, refers to the ability of a video game to allow players using different gaming platforms to play with each other simultaneously. This means that a player using one type of device or console (such as a PlayStation) can play the same game with another player using a different type of device or console (like an Xbox or a PC).

Traditionally, multiplayer gaming was confined to players using the same platform. For example, PlayStation players could only play with other PlayStation players, Xbox players could only play with other Xbox players, and so on. But with the advent of cross-play, these barriers have been broken down.

This has had a significant impact on the gaming industry. Cross-platform play has the potential to increase a game’s player base by allowing more players from various platforms to interact and play together. It also provides greater flexibility for players, as they are no longer limited to playing multiplayer games only with friends who have the same gaming platform.

It’s important to note that not all games support cross-play, and the level of cross-play support can vary from game to game. Some games allow full cross-play between all platforms, while others may only support cross-play between certain platforms.

How Does It Really Work?

Cross-platform play, or cross-play, works by using a game’s servers as a meeting point for all players, regardless of the device they’re using. In essence, the server doesn’t discriminate between different platforms – it treats all players’ inputs and outputs the same, whether they’re on a PlayStation, Xbox, PC, or a mobile device. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how it works:

  1. Platform-agnostic game servers: The first requirement for cross-play is a game that hosts its multiplayer matches on servers that can handle input from different platforms. These servers are designed to accept and process data from all supported devices equally.
  2. Unified game versions: For cross-play to work, all versions of the game on different platforms must be essentially the same in terms of gameplay mechanics, updates, and features. This ensures that no player has an advantage or disadvantage based on the platform they’re playing on.
  3. Matchmaking and game lobbies: When players enter a multiplayer match, the game’s matchmaking system will place them in a game lobby. This lobby can include players from any platform that the game supports for cross-play. In some games, players can choose to enable or disable cross-play, affecting who they can be matched with.
  4. Cross-platform friends lists and parties: Many games with cross-play feature cross-platform friends lists and party systems. These allow players to team up with friends on different platforms and enter matches together. This often requires a game-specific account, such as an Epic Games account for Fortnite or a Riot Games account for League of Legends.
  5. Gameplay: Once in a match, the players can interact with each other as if they were all on the same platform. Any differences in control schemes (such as controller vs. keyboard and mouse) are handled by the game itself, not the server.

It’s important to note that implementing cross-play can be a complex process for game developers, due to the technical challenges of making different platforms communicate effectively, as well as navigating the business and policy considerations of different platform owners. As a result, while cross-play has become more common in recent years, not all games or platforms support it.

How Do I Know if It’s a Cross-Platform Play Game?

Knowing whether a game supports cross-platform play can be determined in a few ways:

  1. Check the game’s official website or store page: The easiest way to determine if a game supports cross-platform play is to check the game’s official website or its page on digital stores like Steam, the PlayStation Store, the Xbox Store, or the Nintendo eShop. Cross-platform play is a significant feature, and developers often advertise it prominently.
  2. Look at the game’s settings: Some games have an option in their settings menu that allows you to enable or disable cross-platform play. If you see this option, the game supports cross-play.
  3. Check in-game friends list: If you can add and play with friends who are using a different platform, then the game likely supports cross-platform play.
  4. Online search: If all else fails, a quick online search of the game’s name along with “cross-platform” or “cross-play” should yield the information you’re looking for.

Remember, just because a game is available on multiple platforms doesn’t mean it necessarily supports cross-platform play. Also, some games support cross-play between certain platforms but not others. For instance, a game might support cross-play between PC and Xbox, but not between PC and PlayStation, or between Xbox and PlayStation. Always check the specific details for each game.

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Frequently Asked Question

What does cross-platform mean in games?

Cross-platform in games refers to the ability to play a game on different types of devices (like PC, Xbox, PlayStation) and still be able to interact with players on other devices.

Why cross-platform gaming is good?

Cross-platform gaming is good because it allows players to play with their friends regardless of the gaming device they own. It also increases the overall player base for a game, improving matchmaking times and community engagement.

What is cross-platform multiplayer?

Cross-platform multiplayer is a feature in games that allows players on different platforms (PC, Xbox, PlayStation, etc.) to play together in the same game session.

What is cross-platform Xbox?

Cross-platform Xbox refers to Xbox games that allow players to interact and play with others who are playing the same game but on different platforms, such as PC or PlayStation.

Can PS4 and Xbox play together?

Yes, PS4 and Xbox players can play together in games that support cross-platform play.

How can you play cross-platform?

To play cross-platform, you need to have a game that supports this feature. Once you’re in the game, you can invite or join friends who are playing on different platforms if the game allows it.

Does crossplay cost money?

Crossplay itself does not cost money. However, the game you’re playing might require a purchase or a subscription to an online service like Xbox Live or PlayStation Plus.

Final Words

Cross-platform play has ushered in a new era in gaming, breaking down the barriers previously set by platform exclusivity. Today, gamers have the freedom to play their favorite titles with friends, irrespective of the device they own. It’s a transformative shift, enabling shared experiences across boundaries.

However, it’s important to note that not all games have embraced this feature. But the tide is changing, with developers increasingly incorporating cross-platform capabilities into their games. So, take a moment to ask – is your favorite game part of this gaming revolution? The future of gaming is here, characterized by unity and shared experiences.

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