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5 Reasons Why Cross-Platform Play Has Pushback From the Gaming Industry

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Cross-platform connectivity seems to be all the rage for gamers these days and it’s easy to see why. It’s far more convenient for you to be able to play on your PlayStation with your friend who’s on Xbox or PC than both of you requiring the same console.

While many games in recent times have adopted cross-platform play, there’s a way to go before it’s considered the standard.

Here are five reasons why the gaming industry is giving pushback on cross-platform gaming.

1. Competition Between Microsoft and Sony

An Xbox and Playstation controller next to a mobile phone on a desk.

While cross-play gaming may be good for you and your friends, it may not be the best thing for Microsoft and Sony’s profits. As the longstanding console giants, Microsoft and Sony are in direct competition on console sales.

The differences in hardware between the consoles are fairly negligible for most people, but you’d be more likely to buy a PS5 if all of your friends had one, especially if you’re all hoping to play together. Making all games cross-play gives the user more freedom in choosing a console to purchase, which can affect the profits of either company.

2. Microsoft and Sony Update Fees

Game developers have to provide money to Microsoft and Sony to update their games on their platforms. These update fees can also be present on other gaming platforms such as Nintendo and Steam, and even on app stores.

By having a game exist on different platforms, developers can have games in different builds depending on the platform, such as the case with the Minecraft console build being older than the PC version. Game developers, particularly indie ones, may need to stagger updates across different platforms, either for financial reasons or due to challenges that arose when implementing updates on a certain platform.

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3. User Base Fragmentation Can Work in Your Favor

Games will run on different servers for each platform when they are not cross-platform. This is actually a smart move in the case of downtimes caused by either in-game bugs or issues with the entire network of a platform. If you play a game on Xbox, but there’s a huge bug that causes downtime on the PS4 version, this fragmentation of the user base works in your favor.

If a game is cross-platform and goes down, it goes down for everybody. This can cause more bad press for a game and obviously affects more people. While cross-platform does make it easier for you to play with your friends, it will affect all of you in the case of downtime.

4. Infrastructure Differences

Digital user icons dotted around a city skyline.

The infrastructure between Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo’s consoles isn’t necessarily the same, which can make it tricky for developers to implement cross-platform capability on certain titles.

While the increase in cross-platform across titles suggests that these infrastructure differences aren’t impossible to navigate through, you have to consider how differences in funding and teams between different game developer companies can have an impact on implementing cross-play.

5. PC Players Have the Advantage

If you’re a PC player then you’ll be well aware of how much quicker a mouse and keyboard allow you to maneuver compared to a controller. The difference in input has long shown its impact on first-person shooter games, for example, with PC players usually dominating in lobbies where console players are present.

You may want to play with your friend who is on a different console, but what if it comes at the cost of getting wrecked online by PC players who can simply move and aim faster than you?

This is one of the main reasons that cross-play receives pushback from the gaming industry, because of the issues of fairness in the competition that comes from allowing console and PC players to populate the same lobbies.

Should Cross-Play Be Widespread?

There are many reasons why cross-platform gaming isn’t as widespread as you and other gamers may want it to be. While it does seem to be featured on more and more titles as the years go by, it’s unlikely that you’ll see cross-play become the standard for every game for some time.

In the meantime, there are plenty of cross-platform titles on mobile, and quite a few on PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo.

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