Video games have evolved throughout the decades, going from simple arcade games with joystick controls to portable devices such as Gameboys and Nintendo DS. That said, each platform always has its own dedicated games and has never shared them with one another. Until today.
Cross-platform gaming grants you the ability to play a single game across different platforms. Modern technology is credited for making this possible and opening up new avenues for exploration, both technologically and economically. However, being such a new phenomenon means that there are still several unexplored opportunities and challenges that await crossplay.
Many might be surprised, but the majority of today’s gamers actually spend most of their time, resources, and energy on mobile games. While the stereotypical gamer is assumed to be perpetually attached to their consoles and PC, there are still considerably more who are more attuned to mobile gaming.
However, more hardcore gamers usually still prefer consoles and PCs as their main platform for gaming, owing to their more powerful hardware that can run more sophisticated and graphics-intensive games. With each platform seemingly having its own edge against the other, what benefit can crossplay derive from them?
Broadened Player Base
As mentioned earlier, gamers are often divided into several categories depending on which platform. Cross-platform gaming can eliminate this divide and allow developers to reach a wider range of players and even introduce them to new platforms. No matter which platform you’re most accustomed to, you’re likely to see benefits in playing the same game on a different platform.
Busy professionals who can only entertain themselves with mobile games may try PC or Console games on their phones. Veteran gamers who avoid phone games due to smaller screens and hardware issues can now enjoy them on their more powerful rigs and larger screens.
One of mobile gaming’s key strengths. Aside from gaming, smartphones provide a plethora of other important functions, making them a mainstay in everyone’s pockets. Recent advancements in mobile technology allow it to run almost every type of game, even those that were once exclusive to PCs, consoles, arcades, and even casinos.
These games are listed with reviews, and bonuses, and are accessible from wherever you are. You could collect online casino bonuses in Australia without even being in Australia. Thanks to crossplay, games that were previously only available on console and PC and only accessible at home can now be played wherever and whenever you want.
On the developer side of things, crossplay can double or even triple their potential payout just by merely being able to tap into multiple gaming platforms. The portability of mobile phones allows you to access their games on the go and spend more time playing, providing them additional ad revenues. The more advanced and immersive gameplay experience of PCs and Consoles can intensify your gaming entertainment, making DLCs and in-game purchases more worthwhile.
Crossplay: Double-Edged Sword
Unfortunately, making crossplay a reality isn’t just sunshine and rainbows. There are many coding nuances and outright hardware incompatibilities that can make or break a cross-platform game.
This one is mostly directed towards mobile capabilities. Unfortunately, its pocket-friendly size and its hardware not being solely dedicated to gaming renders it significantly less capable than gaming rigs to run graphically demanding and complex games. Smaller screens make UI placing an issue too, especially action-oriented games or explorative games that place a lot of UI and widgets on the screen.
Input differences should also be taken into account as consoles generally use controllers, PCs use mouse and keyboard, and smartphones mainly utilize its touch-based interface, and the game should be playable with all of them.
Developers must code and properly optimize their games not only on one platform but on all of them. This can take more time and resources than if they would only dedicate the game to a single platform.
Many agree that keyboard and mouse have a higher skill ceiling than controllers, which leaves console gamers at a disadvantage in PvP crossplay. Now imagine phone users in the mix.
Licensing and App-Store Approval Processes
Developers will have to satisfy the licensing and legal requirements to publish their game across various platforms, which can further add to the development time and expenses of a game.
Cross-platform gaming is rich in potential, both for developers and players alike, however, there are several hurdles that both must overcome to maximize the benefits of crossplay without becoming too expensive or hassling.
The rise of cloud gaming technology might be able to disregard hardware limitations by simply streaming a high-end game from remote servers or a more adept rig, but this will require a consistently fast internet connection. Luckily, 5G and faster Wi-Fi are becoming more widespread, which can supplement cloud gaming’s need for a stable connection. Overall, as technology advances, the easier and more rewarding crossplay will likely become.