Cross-Generation Meaning: What is Cross-Generation in Gaming?

Since 2020, with the launch of the Xbox Series and PlayStation 5 platforms, cross-generation gaming has been a hot topic. It’s a relatively new technology (or consumer trap, depending on your stance) that was introduced for a number of reasons. While it’s designed to be helpful to the modern gamer, there are many who believe that cross-generation gaming is not without its pitfalls. In this guide, we’re breaking down the cross-generation meaning, determining once and for all whether it’s a helpful feature.

As gamers, we’ve only been ‘aware’ of cross-generational gaming for a relatively short period of time. There is quite a collection of cross-generation games on the market, but despite the density, some gamers are still resistant to the overall idea of them.

Read on to learn how cross-gen games work and what the fuss is about developers trying to give cross-generation meaning.

What is Cross-Generation in Gaming?

So, what is cross-generation gaming? It’s a simple idea, and it basically explains the scenario when a developer releases a game simultaneously on two different generations of the same platform. For instance, when Assassin’s Creed Valhalla launched in 2020, it was released on both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. This is the perfect example of a cross-generation game, but admittedly, it does go a little deeper than that.

Many of the best crossplay games are huge, top-tier titles, like Call of Duty, for example. They’re games that are designed to reach as wide an audience as possible, and the easiest way to do that is with a cross-generation launch. However, some cross-generation games go much further, introducing cross-progression and cross-platform features.

cross generation meaning

What is cross-progression? It’s essentially where a player can carry their progress from one platform to another, usually by using a centralised account.

And if we were going to crossplay games explained in a single line, it would be that crossplay games allow players to connect with other gamers across platforms.

There are still several areas of cross-generation gaming to consider outside of the base cross-gen definition – read on to learn more.

Is Cross-Generation a Good Thing?

There’s a healthy rivalry ongoing between PlayStation and Xbox platforms, and it has been that way for several years. Both of these titans of the gaming industry are always trying to outdo the other, introducing subscription services, special offers, and first-party titles in an attempt to win the war.

With cross-generation gaming, things remain at a stalemate, with neither company having an edge over the other.

On both Xbox and PlayStation consoles, players can lean on cross-generational technology to gain a huge advantage called ‘smart delivery’. This is a feature that means if you buy the game once, you own it on both formats – PS4 and PS5, for instance. For Xbox platforms, it’s a feature literally titled ‘Smart Delivery’, but on PlayStation, there’s no dedicated name for it – it just exists.

what is cross generation in gaming xbox

For some gamers, developers giving cross-generation meaning is a bad thing, as it muddies the waters a little. As an example, many ‘old’ platforms are having their games upgraded to run and look better, and in some situations, it’s very hard to tell the difference between either version. It’s also taking a lot away from the ‘exclusivity’ aspect that has been so big in gaming for well over a decade.

If every game is cross-generation, and every cross-generation game looks the same on both platforms, why should the consumer upgrade? On the other side of the same coin, an upgraded consumer will feel cheated that a gamer on an ‘older’ platform is having just as good an experience as they are.

It’s a lively and ongoing debate, but fear not – cross-generation gaming will lose meaning in the near future.

That is until even newer platforms are announced.