Cross-Platform Meaning Explained: How Do Cross-Platform Games Work?
For years, cross-platform gaming has been a relatively hot topic, with many ‘crossplay’ games emerging across the industry. As a concept, cross-platform gaming is restricted to multiplayer experiences – that’s just how it works. However, despite it being a relatively simple mechanic, there are still many people wondering, what is cross-platform? In this guide, we’ll break down the answer to that question, figuring out what developers are doing to give cross-platform meaning.
If you’re desperately seeking to have cross-platform games explained and to find out how cross-platform games work, then read on.
What is Cross-Platform Gaming?
It’s a dramatically simple concept – games that are cross-platform basically allow players to connect with other players on different platforms. For instance, if you were playing a game on an Xbox platform, you could connect with someone playing the same game on a PlayStation platform, thanks to cross-platform gaming. It’s a beautifully simple idea that has a massive implication for the gaming industry, as it enables some games to promote a seamless, collective gaming experience.
If you’re asking the question, ‘what is crossplay‘, then you’re still in the right place. These are essentially interchangeable terms, with both cross-platform and crossplay describing the exact same thing.
Typically, the best cross-platform games are multiplayer-only titles. For instance, Fortnite, and since 2019, Call of Duty – these are some of the most popular and well-maintained cross-platform games. Not every multiplayer game will boast open cross-platform compatibility. For example, Rainbow Six Siege cross-platform features are restricted to a ‘family only’ mechanic. This means that someone on Xbox One can play with someone on Xbox Series X, but it goes no deeper than that.
Are There Any Problems With Cross-Platform Gaming?
If there’s one key issue with cross-platform gaming, it’s that many console-based gamers do not trust PC players. They’re fearful of them, in a way – they believe that PC players have the upper hand when it comes to cross-platform gaming. While this is true in some respects, it’s not universally true – but that doesn’t stop the idea from creating issues.
Fortunately, that’s the leading reason why many developers give players the option to turn off cross-platform features entirely. If a player on PlayStation 5 doesn’t want to matchmake with PC players, they can simply go to the game’s setting menu and disable cross-platform features. It’s that simple, and it’s the easiest way to lock yourself into one platform, avoiding any potential issues caused by the crossover feature.
For the most part, cross-platform play is welcomed and appreciated. Typically, when a game launches with any kind of multiplayer functionality, one of the first questions asked is whether or not it’ll be cross-platform. For instance, when Elden Ring launched, the internet was blocked up with people asking, ‘will Elden Ring be cross-platform?‘
Spoiler alert: it technically is, but like Rainbow Six Siege, it doesn’t truly cross platforms, and instead, it remains within the ‘family’.
So, that’s how we give cross-platform meaning – it’s a feature that allows you to connect with players on other platforms.