Crossplay Meaning: What is Crossplay in Gaming?

Crossplay is a concept that can be traced back to the turn of the millennium, but today, it’s driving the collective community aspect of online gaming. It was back in 1998 that the first ‘crossplay games’ emerged, but it would be another twenty years before the technology became a) online, and b) super-seamless. In this guide, we’ll discuss how crossplay games work and figure out what developers are doing to give crossplay meaning.

For some gamers, a question on their mind is, ‘is crossplay bad’? We’ll cover the concerns that lurk behind the seemingly innocent concept of crossplay gaming as a key part of this breakdown. If you’re interested in learning as much as possible about crossplay games, read on.

What is Crossplay?

It’s one of those situations where the clue really is in the name of the concept. With crossplay, players are given the ability to connect with gamers on other platforms, even those on rival platforms. That’s crossplay games explained as simply as possible – it’s not a complex concept, and even from a development standpoint, it’s a simple thing to deliver.

crossplay meaning

For years, the best crossplay games have driven the industry forward at an alarming rate. At the top of the table sits the likes of Fortnite, which allows players to compete alongside one another regardless of what platform they’re playing on. Since 2019, Call of Duty has boasted crossplay mechanics, bringing the community together as one and ensuring nobody plays alone. However, some developers are unwilling to get on board with crossplay features – but that’s fine, as not every game needs crossplay.

For example, GTA 5 crossplay features don’t exist. Typically, crossplay titles will be those built around multiplayer platforms, which is why Call of Duty and Fortnite do so well as crossplay franchises. But, that isn’t a strict rule, as, for example, Rainbow Six Siege crossplay also doesn’t exist.

That’s all we can say to give crossplay meaning – it’s a feature that allows players to connect regardless of which platform they’re on.

Is Crossplay Bad?

what is crossplay

Image Credit: No Man’s Sky

For some players, crossplay mechanics are a bad thing. It’s partly why almost every crossplay game boasts the inherent ability to turn off crossplay mechanics. This restricts players to their platform of choice, and there’s typically one reason why gamers actually do this.

It all comes down to a ‘fear’ of PC gaming. There is an idea that’s prevalent in the gaming industry, and it suggests that cheaters are much more common on the PC platform. It’s not necessarily true, but it isn’t false, either. Furthermore, many gamers believe that PC gaming boasts several advantages – higher frame rates, field-of-view options, better graphics, and so on. Therefore, console-based gamers are more likely to turn off crossplay features altogether.

There are other terms to bear in mind as well when taking part in this discussion: cross-progression, and cross-generation, for example.

What is cross-progression? That’s a conversation for another guide.