Cross-platform gaming is the new black in the video gaming industry. It enables people to join multiplayer experiences with others, irrespective of their chosen device or platform. For example, an Xbox fan can actively engage in gameplay alongside someone using a personal computer. 

Famous multiplayer games like Fortnite have over 350 million registered players who use different devices, and uniting them via the cross-platform approach means keeping them all interested and engaged. 

These days, cross-platform compatibility is becoming a common feature in the majority of multiplayer games. Collaborating with players globally has never been more straightforward. The concept of cross-platform gaming is extremely simple – games that support cross-platform functionality essentially enable players to link up with others using varied platforms depending on what platform each player prefers. 

This elegantly simple concept is becoming more and more important in the industry, offering a seamless and collective gaming experience. 

Moreover, the concept of cross-save functionality is also considered. It allows players to save their game progress across various websites and devices. It means they will continue to play the game from where they stopped the previous time on a different device, instead of starting from scratch each time they take another device. 

The Difference Between Cross-Platform vs. Cross-play Games Explained 

There are two terms that can confuse players and the terms are cross-platform and cross-play. So, cross-platform video games are available on multiple platforms (not just one). Cross-play games, on the other hand, allow people on different platforms to play together online in multiplayer mode. 

It is also important to understand that many cross-platform games confine multiplayer modes only to specific console families, such as PlayStation 4 and 5. So instead of enjoying more flexibility players still face certain limitations. 

In contrast, the cross-play concept introduces a “universal lobby” where all players can play and interact, so the need for different game lobbies for different platforms is removed. This system allows gamers to engage in gaming activities with their friends seamlessly, regardless of the platform choice. 

Disadvantages of Cross-Platform Gaming 

While cross-platform gaming is all about variety, versatility, accessibility, and flexibility, there are still disadvantages to it. Interestingly enough, these disadvantages are not only technical or connected to game design but also somewhat social. 

Cross-Play Gaming Is Unbalanced By Default 

Matchmaking with players from different gaming platforms for a cross-platform gaming experience has its drawbacks. The very first issue is that most games still work in favor of a certain platform or device. For example, when participating in cross-platform gameplay involving both PC and console users, there’s a potential for biases either working in favor of PC players or console players. 

Playing with a keyboard and mouse is reportedly better than using a controller. The mouse and keyboard help with aiming and customizable gameplay mechanics. The controller, compared to the mouse and keyboard, is slower, less flexible, and only sticks to restricted binding options.

This way, when players using a PC and players using a console are trying to incorporate into a match, PC players show a noticeable advantage. The game balance therefore cannot be achieved, and the dynamics of the gameplay will suffer. 

Cross-Play Causes More Competitive Gaming Approach 

Another concern within the reality of cross-play features is the increasing competitive orientation of games, regardless of whether it’s a casual or ranked match. 

Due to challenges related to online balancing in cross-play titles, the online gaming experience must align with skill-based parameters to address the skill-level or setup biases inherent to platforms like PCs.

Whether you opt for a casual gaming experience or a more competitive one, the presence of cross-play in games ensures that you’re consistently matched with players of comparable skill. However, because the players’ skills are impacted also by the platform they use, the game imbalance caused by platform biases results in matchmaking biases and therefore a more competitive approach. Groups matched based on skill contribute directly to more competitive environments as this is the gaming ecosystem requirement that cannot be avoided. 

Players who would like to play more casually and avoid competition should probably deactivate cross-play on their devices. 

The Advantages Of Cross-Play Gaming

If there are drawbacks there should also be advantages to cross-platform games, otherwise, they would not have been implemented and enjoyed. 

Cross-Play Gaming Reduces Matchmaking Times

The integration of multiple platforms significantly amplifies the potential player pool, leading to a substantial increase in the number of gamers participating simultaneously. Therefore, when playing in a group, people can complete their missions faster and in a more dynamic way. 

By enabling cross-play, players also enable communication and engagement with a bigger community, facilitating broader connectivity. Besides becoming part of the bigger group, players also improve the game’s loading times. So, the more people play simultaneously on different platforms, the faster the game moves on. 

Social Barriers Are Taken Down 

The key advantage presented by the cross-play gaming concept is its ability to broaden each player’s social gaming interactions beyond the initially chosen platform. This feature enables all players to engage in gameplay with friends, removing any platform-related restrictions. 

This feature not only increases the spectrum of potentially talented gamers who are fun to interact with but also decreases the financial burden associated with some high-quality (expensive) games. Rather than investing in an expensive console, one can play on devices they own. Moreover, the more players enjoy the game, the more affordable it will be in the long-term perspective. In contrast to playing at casinos with $10 minimum deposit where the initial investment cannot be influenced by the number of players, video gaming platforms can make games more affordable if the support is enough. 

Final Thoughts 

Cross-play gaming has become a crucial aspect of the gaming landscape. It offers many advantages to players on the global level, making games more affordable and accessible, and opening the doors for a bigger gamers community. 

However, there are certain challenges, as well, both of social and technical nature. Yet, cross-platform games and cross-play seem to not be an integral part of modern gaming.