Video games are meant to be enjoyed by as many people as possible, and multiplayer is designed for exactly that. However, there's a bit of a problem that can, and sometimes does, put a wrench in that chain: the crossplay hobgoblin. Almost every AAA game that releases launches on all the major consoles -- but players can, for the most part, only play with those gamers that use the same system as they do.
Some developers are starting to break that trend -- with Mojang being a notable recent example -- allowing anyone and everyone to play together. But other developers are playing sticks in the mud. As the trend towards greater cross-platform support continues to grow, these are five of our top picks for games we want to see included in it.
As the trend toward greater cross-platform support continues to grow among player bases, here are five of our top picks for games and series we want to see interconnected in the crossplay-future.
Aside the controversies over Call of Duty: WWII, there's still an immensely popular, long-running franchise here with quality multiplayer offerings, which is highlighted by the recent beta for the upcoming installment. The series' team-based FPS action draws in numerous players every time a new version is released, even more so with the series going back to its historical-ish roots.
One would think the opportunity for cross-platform support for the kind of multiplayer free-for-all the Call of Duty franchise is known for would be something developers would eagerly pursue. However, that's not really the case for most shooter games.
Many publishers and developers cite the inordinate advantage PC players have over console players when talking about crossplay for these titles, especially since those players have the at their disposals the precision of a mouse and keyboard and the fidelity of minutely adjusting settings and visuals to their advantage. So even though we'd love to see cross-platform CoD -- or even Overwatch -- unfortunately, that's probably just a dream right now.
But moving forward, the Call of Duty franchise is the perfect test case to accurately measure if crossplay across, at the very least, consoles is viable for the FPS genre.
This one should come as no surprise. The FIFA games are some of EA's best-selling, and FIFA 18 is one of the best the franchise has to offer.
Multiplayer is, of course, a tremendous part of the franchise's appeal. It's available on every platform, yet to date, there's no cross-platform support.
Allowing owners of different systems to play together is the next logical step in the franchise's development -- not to mention a way of boosting its eSports presence. PS4 owners will finally be able to play with their Xbox One counterparts. And when the Nintendo Switch's online service launches in 2018, even more players will be chomping at the bit to take to the pitch and show their dominance. As a third party developer, EA has no concerns over encouraging consumers to purchase one particular system for their products, so in the end, everyone would win.
As a third party developer, EA has no concerns over encouraging consumers to purchase one particular system for their products, so in the end, everyone would win.
Perhaps FIFA will ultimately lead the charge forward.
Why implement cross-platform play for The Elder Scrolls Online, a game that's already more than three years old? Because there were still an estimated 8.5 million players online as of February of this year. There's a good reason for that as well: since the game's release, Bethesda has included a number of necessary tune-ups to improve the overall experience.
One of the best was altering the level system so that zones level with you, actually giving players incentive to explore and take on quests. However, even better is the Morrowind expansion and its PvP element, alongside the almost-endless crafting possibilities for your home and character.
There's a lot to love about Elder Scrolls Online, and letting those 8.5 million players play together fits perfectly with the direction in which the developers are taking the game, giving an expanded purpose to the game's PvP battles and making exploration even more enjoyable than it already is. That, ultimately, should ensure players' enjoyment of it.
If any MMO can make crossplay happen, it's ESO.
On a completely different note is Lego Worlds. Minecraft might have stolen the title of first cross-platform sandbox game, but that doesn't mean there is no room for this one. Like Minecraft, this game lets you build anything you can imagine, only you're building it with Legos, which means you can indulge all your childhood Lego dreams that just weren't possible to realize with traditional block sets.
The recent addition of multiplayer to Lego Worlds allows gamers to explore each other's sandboxes and play and build together -- or wreak complete havoc on one another. Legos, in general, are meant to be shared and shown off, and with the game being on all major platforms -- Switch included -- cross-platform play would fit perfectly with the game's and franchise's mission of encouraging creative play.
Ultimately, Lego Worlds is a strong candidate to lead the charge for cross-platform play for both console and PC.
Diablo III is an old game -- well, old by gaming standards -- but it still seems new, owing to the never-ending stream of expansions and updates Blizzard provides its player base. For any online multiplayer game, cross-platform play seems necessary, but for a franchise as popular and with such a distinguished pedigree as Diablo, you could say it's close to mandatory. Diablo III already provides a fun and challenging co-op experience -- and it's almost a given that future iterations (which we'll definitely get) will push the envelope of co-op play even further.
As with all cross-platform games, however, there are important technical issues to consider, not least of which being the way different companies handle their servers. However, that doesn't mean it's impossible. Blizzard once said that adding Seasons to the console versions of the game would be entirely out of the question for the same reasons, yet here we are, with Seasons on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. So that doesn't mean that future Diablo games -- and maybe even Diablo III -- might dabble in crossplay sometime in the future.
From open world exploration games to traditional dungeon crawlers, sports, and everything in between, video games offer an enormous variety of experiences that are more than worth sharing with your friends. And cross-platform play would only help expand the fun on offer, bringing more people together playing the games they love, regardless of which console or platform they owned.
Do you think crossplay will ever cross into the mainstream? What games do you want to see employ crossplay features? Let us know in the comments below!