If you are a gamer, you might have heard the term “cross-platform” or “cross-play” before. But what does it mean, and why is it important for gaming? In this article, I will explain what cross-platform gaming is, how it works, and what are some of the benefits and challenges of it.
Firstly, What Is Cross-platform Gaming?
Cross-platform gaming is when a game can be played on different devices and platforms, such as PC, console, mobile, etc. For example, Fortnite is a cross-platform game that you can play on Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, PC, and Android. This means that you can enjoy the same game experience on different devices, and even switch between them without losing your progress.
Cross-platform gaming also means that you can play online with other players who are using different devices or platforms. This is called cross-play, and it allows you to team up or compete with your friends or strangers who have different gaming preferences or hardware. For example, Overwatch is a cross-play game that lets you play with PS5/4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC players in the same match.
How Does Cross-platform Gaming Work?
Cross-platform gaming works by using a common server or network that connects all the different devices and platforms. The game developer has to make sure that the game is compatible with each platform and device, and that the gameplay is balanced and fair for all players.
One of the challenges of cross-platform gaming is that different devices and platforms have different capabilities and features. For example, PC gamers can use a mouse and keyboard for more precise aiming and control, while console gamers can use a controller for more comfortable and intuitive gameplay. Mobile gamers can use touchscreens for more convenience and portability, but they might have smaller screens and lower graphics quality.
To overcome these challenges, some cross-platform games offer options to adjust the graphics settings, enable or disable cross-play, or choose which platforms or devices to play with. Some games also use matchmaking algorithms to pair players with similar skill levels or preferences.
What Are the Benefits of Cross-platform Gaming?
Cross-platform gaming has many benefits for both gamers and game developers. Some of the benefits are:
- More accessibility: Cross-platform gaming allows you to play your favorite games on any device or platform that you have access to. You don’t have to buy multiple copies of the same game or invest in expensive hardware to enjoy gaming. You can also play with more people online who have different devices or platforms.
- More diversity: Cross-platform gaming allows you to experience different styles of gameplay and graphics on different devices or platforms. You can also learn from other players who have different skills or strategies on different devices or platforms.
- More innovation: Cross-platform gaming encourages game developers to create games that are compatible with multiple devices and platforms. This can lead to more creativity and experimentation in game design and development. It can also increase the potential audience and revenue for game developers.
Cross-platform/Cross-play Games, Examples:
While not all games are cross-platform or allow cross-platform play, there are some examples of the most famous cross-platform games. For instance, as of 2021, some of the most popular titles that have cross-play support include Among Us, Apex Legends, Call of Duty, Dead by Daylight, Destiny 2, Fortnite, Minecraft and Rocket League.
- Fortnite – PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC, mobile, Xbox Series X, PS5
- Call of Duty: Warzone – PS4, Xbox One, PC, Xbox Series X, PS5
- Among Us – Android, iOS, PC, Nintendo Switch
- Genshin Impact – PC, PS4, Android, iOS
- Apex Legends – Xbox One, PS4, PC, Switch
- Minecraft – Xbox One, PS4, Switch, PC, Android
What Are the Challenges of Cross-platform Gaming?
Cross-platform gaming also has some challenges for both gamers and game developers. Some of the challenges are:
- More complexity: Cross-platform gaming requires more technical work and testing from game developers to ensure that the game works well on different devices and platforms. It also requires more communication and coordination between different teams or partners who are involved in the game development process.
- More competition: Cross-platform gaming increases the number of players who can play online together. This can create more competition and rivalry among players who have different devices or platforms. It can also create more toxicity or harassment among players who have different opinions or preferences about gaming.
- More compromise: Cross-platform gaming requires some compromise from both gamers and game developers. Gamers might have to sacrifice some features or performance on certain devices or platforms to enjoy cross-platform gaming. Game developers might have to limit some aspects of the game design or development to accommodate cross-platform gaming.
Cross-platform gaming is a trend that is growing in popularity and importance in the gaming industry. It offers many benefits and challenges for both gamers and game developers. It allows gamers to play their favorite games on any device or platform they want, and with anyone they want online. It also encourages game developers to create games that are compatible with multiple devices and platforms, and that appeal to a wider audience.
If you are interested in cross-platform gaming, you can check out some of the best free cross-platform games on PC/PS5/Xbox/Switch in 2023, or learn more about how cross-platform play works in gaming.