I’m sure you wondered if Xbox One & PlayStation 4 can play together? This would be the stuff of dreams only one console generation ago, so I researched the internet to find out for myself and people just like you.
Xbox One players and PlayStation 4 players can play together in cross-platform games. You can play games such as Rocket League, PubG, Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare, Minecraft, Fortnite, and the list is growing all the time.
I will discuss in detail why cross-platform games are so important and how it works and why Sony was the last company to issue cross-platform functionality.
What Is Cross-Play Gaming?
Cross-play is the ability to play a video game across multiple platforms allowing someone playing Fortnite on the Nintendo Switch to play with players on the same server using a PS4 or Xbox One!
This was unthinkable even several years ago but now it’s possible to play big cross-platform games like Minecraft & PubG and you can even play Fortnite with your mobile phone with console players!
Beforehand cross-platform multiplayer games usually stayed within the publisher. For example, certain games in the monster hunter series were cross-platform games but this stayed in Nintendos ecosystem; the 2DS, Wii U and Switch.
Sony is notorious for being late adopters but they finally allowed developers to support Cross-play for the PS4 in October 2019 which highlights a massive victory for all gamers everywhere as cross-play will become more and more important.
Why Are All Games Not Cross-Platform?
Microsoft is leading the way with Cross-platform gaming as Microsofts Play Anywhere initiative (official website) makes the majority of Xbox titles playable on the PC once purchased.
As Microsoft developers both the Xbox and the Windows operating system, this just makes business sense and allows cross-platform on the majority but not all play anywhere games. This will only improve over time.
The biggest reason why all games are not cross-platform? It is because of the cost. If code for a game isn’t written with cross-play in mind it is quite difficult to introduce it afterwards.
Read the quote by OverWatch developer Wes Yanagi on implementing Cross-play.
“Cross-play is something that would be compelling for players, and as a player, I would love to see it happen. The truth is that implementing cross-play for Overwatch is more difficult than people realise”Overwatch developer Wes Yanagi
It isn’t just Wes Yanagi as Shawn Layden the former chairman of PlayStation WorldWide studios said the following ‘” enabling cross-play isn’t just about flipping a switch and ‘there you go’. It’s a very multi-dimensional kind of attribute or feature”‘
As you can see implementing cross-play can be quite difficult as gaming companies can clearly see it’s in the players best interest but it isn’t so simple in reality.
The Issues Behind Cross-Play Gaming
Whilst the Xbox One & PS4 have quite similar hardware and software, there is a big difference between a mouse and keyboard compared to a standard controller. Although on PC you can use a controller, combining very different controls schemes will prove difficult.
Especially with FPS a mouse and keyboard offer a far enhanced level of sensitivity and accuracy than an analogue stick from a controller does, making PC players whilst playing an FPS cross-platform game will always have the advantage.
Even features such as only console players getting aim-assist in cross-platform gaming are difficult to implement and don’t solve the issues.
Hardware limitations is a big one as although the next generation of consoles is going to be closer to PC’s than ever a PS4 version of a game can only ever handle X amount of players who can join one match, hurting the experience for PC players.
Console player simply has a poorer frame rate which gives slower and worse performance compared to high-end computers. PC players will always have a significant advantage, as their games just run faster and smoother.
Could Harm The Gaming Platforms
In a world where cross-platform games make up the majority of games, there is less emphasis on the platform themselves as someone can choose whichever they like.
This is the issue Sony had with cross-platform gaming as Sony as a company aren’t doing so well and survive mostly from the PS4 with its fanatic fanbase and excellent exclusives that people flock to. Sony mentality is dominating the gaming hardware only giving you one option to purchase.
Cross-play could be deemed harmful for the player base of certain platforms as there is less incentive to purchase one platform, which leads to fewer game and consoles sales; leading less money onto new projects, studios and talents.
Why Cross-Play Gaming Is Good
Cross-Play gaming removes console limitations, do you want to play PubG with your friend but he has an Xbox One and you have a PS4? Now with Cross-play, this is a reality!
Before online multiplayer local split-screen was the only way to play multiplayer, and it brought a lovely gaming sense of togetherness.
People want to play together, and Microsoft play anywhere initiative allows you to play Sea Of Thieves with a friend or family member in the same room with one playing on the PC, and one on the Xbox which is fantastic to see.
People want to play together and cross-play is very pro-consumer which is why Sony took a lot of backlashes not wanting to implement cross-play. This drive to play will cause developers to overcome all the aforementioned drawbacks.
The PS5 and Xbox Series X will be very powerful and will match a solid high-end PC in performance with the Xbox perhaps being capable of 120 FPS. This will truly level the playing field, and cause cross-platform gaming to be available to the masses. Once this happens the walls behind different consoles will fall and true cross-platform gaming will be built in its place.
How Cross-Platform Gaming Is Bringing People Together
10 million people play the popular pirate MMO Sea Of Thieves and it was developed especially for cross-play. According to an article about cross-play on the official website for the game, the developers stated: “Why would we segregate players in the first place?”
This is an interesting question as separating players within systems only limits the player’s experience, Sea Of Thieves PC & Xbox One cross-play is so seamless it seems like your playing on the same device.
Nowhere is Cross-play massive potential is shown better than Epic Games massively popular third-person shooter Fortnite. The game can be played on both iOS & Android who can play with PC, Xbox One, Switch and PS4 which is incredible!
Fortnite in 2019 had 250 million registered players! making it the most popular game of all time and this is no doubt attributed to Epic Games making it cross-platform with every device imaginable being able to play the game
Developers are working harder than ever to allow true cross-platform experiences across different genres and games. It is an exciting time to be a gamer!
Best Cross-Play Games
- Fortnite (Xbox One, PS4, Switch, PC, mobile)
- Minecraft (Xbox One, Switch, PC, mobile)
- Rocket League (Xbox One, PS4, Switch, PC)
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
- Hearthstone (PC, mobile)
- PUBG (Xbox One, PS4,
- Street Fighter V (PS4, PC)
- Wargroove (Xbox One, Switch, PC)
- Dauntless (Xbox One, PS4, PC)
- DC Universe Online (PS4, PC)
- Aragami (Xbox One, PC, Switch, PS4, PC)
- Ark: Survival Evolved (Xbox One, PC)
- Astroneer (Xbox One, PC)
- Brawlhalla (Xbox One, PS4, Switch)
- Dick Wilde 2 (PS4, PC)
- Eve: Valkyrie (PS4, PC)
- Final Fantasy XIV (PS4, PC, Mac)
- Full Metal Furies (Xbox One, PC)
- Games of Glory (PS4, PC)
- Guns of Icarus Online (PS4, PC, Mac)
- Happy Wars (Xbox One, PC)
- Hex (PS4, PC)
- Mantis Burn Racing (PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC)
- Mushroom Wars 2 (Switch, PC, Mac)
- Next Up Hero (Xbox One, Switch, Mac, PC)
- Overload (Xbox One, PC / PS4, PC)
- Paladins (Xbox One, Switch, PC, PS4)
- Realm Royale (Xbox One, Switch, PC, PS4)
- Rec Room (PS4, PC)
- Siegecraft Commander (PS4, PC / Switch, Xbox One, PC)
- Sniper Elite V2 Remastered (Xbox One, PC)
- Spacelords (PS4, PC / Xbox One, PC)
- SMITE (Xbox One, Switch, PC, PS4)
- Star Trek: Bridge Crew (PS4, PC)
- Wargroove (Switch, Xbox One, PC)
- Weapons of Mythology: New Age (PS4, PC)
- Werewolves Within (PS4, PC)