Have you ever heard of cross-platform games? This type of game solves one of the biggest challenges when it comes to gathering friends to enjoy a game: getting everyone to use the same platform (console, mobile, PC, etc.) that.
As not everyone has the same equipment, it is not always possible to gather friends to have fun in the same game. This was even more difficult a few years ago when it was also necessary for everyone to purchase the same physical media for the game (cartridge, Blue-Ray, CD, etc.).
Therefore, to play a console game, it was necessary to have the cartridge, CD, Blue Ray, or other media and a Nintendo, PlayStation, Xbox, etc. If it was a computer game, then everyone had to have a PC or Notebook.
If friends lived close to each other, all they had to do was get together for the gamer get-together. However, if they lived far from each other, they should have the same items for them to play together over the Internet.
With the growth of the online gaming market, in which all you have to do is buy and download the game you want on your PC or current consoles, both those who had the physical media and those who purchased the content through an online store or streaming service could now play together.
However, there was still the question of equipment, in addition to the fact that some games were exclusive to certain platforms. For that, cross-platform games are a solution.
Want to know why? Keep reading to find out!
What are cross-platform games?
Cross-platform games are made to run on different equipment and media, so multiple players can access the same game from different devices.
For example, a game of this type will work on different smartphones, PCs, and consoles, allowing its owners to play as a team or against each other at matches.
Therefore, this type of game “smooths” the so-called “console wars”, because those who have Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5, among others, can have fun together.
How do cross-platform games work?
This system, also known as cross-play or cross-platform gameplay, features a “unification” that varies by level.
That’s because there are games that work on virtually all major platforms on the market (full compatibility) and there are those that run on just a few (partial compatibility).
There are features similar to the cross-platform game, such as cross-save. It allows the gamer to save their evolution in a game on one platform and, when they are on another, can continue where they left off.
There was also compatibility between different computer operating systems, such as Windows, Linux, Macintosh, among others. With this, users of these systems were able to play together in certain games.
This functionality was enabled using standard communication protocols, such as TCP/IP, and features aimed at portability between systems.
This made it possible for game servers and player client machines to interact more easily, so players from different PC platforms could play together
Another term related to this theme is worth mentioning: the cross-buy. This functionality is found on certain digital distribution media.
It makes it possible for users to purchase games on certain device platforms and be able to play them on other systems where those games are available.
In this case, the player saves a good amount of money by not having to buy the game again if he changes equipment.
There’s also cross-console, where compatibility is only between Nintendo, Xbox, PlayStation, etc. devices. We’ll talk more about this item later.
What are the strengths and limitations of cross-play?
Although it is usually a very positive feature for players, cross-play also has certain limitations or downsides in certain situations. See more:
Interactivity and Integration
As mentioned, the main advantage of cross-play is the possibility to play with friends who have different equipment. Therefore, systems integration deserves to be highlighted.
Gameplay and convenience
In addition, those who have more than one gamer platform at home will be able to play on the one with the greatest gameplay, the one with the greatest skill, or the one that they believe is more convenient. This will vary from game to game.
In conventional games, if you don’t have the devices that they run on, you’ll have to buy that hardware to play. This happens, for example, when your friends have a type of console and want to play together, but you’re the only one who doesn’t have the equipment.
With cross-play games, you won’t need to spend any more money on purchasing the console, so you can use another platform or device you already have to play with your friends. As long as the desired game works on them too.
Differences in gameplay between consoles and PCs
Previously, we pointed out gameplay as a positive cross-play point. And, indeed, she is. However, there are times when this is no longer a benefit in games: when the type of game benefits the playability of certain platforms.
In this way, players of certain equipment start to gain an advantage in command of games about players of other devices.
This happens, for example, in first-person shooters, in which PC players, due to the use of mouse and keyboard, stand out concerning those that use console joysticks.
This fact tends to make the game unfair to the members of the second group. To deal with this situation, game developers can take certain steps, such as:
- provide the player with the option to turn off cross-play, which limits interaction between gamers;
- include a filter for players to select only people who use a joystick or only keyboard and mouse;
- rebalance games;
- change game design elements;
- add elements that “offset” the limitation of joysticks, such as an aiming aid in shooting games to deal with their lesser accuracy.
This last solution needs care not to provide unfair facilitation to players, causing dissatisfaction in those who use keyboard and mouse. Compensation due to different control schemes need to be well planned and executed.
Greater possibility of customizations and hacks/cheats on PCs
Another disadvantage of consoles compared to PCs is that computers allow you to tinker with a wider range of settings that facilitate gameplay.
Furthermore, they are more easily customizable and, in terms of graphics, they allow you to choose different frame rates — as long as your hardware supports it.
On the other hand, consoles tend to be more closed systems with limited customization possibilities. Its graphics are tuned to run according to the configuration and power of its hardware, which tends to be inferior to many PCs and gaming notebooks.
There are also hacks and cheats used by some PC gamers due to the greater possibility of configuring these devices. By cheating in games, they hurt console gamers even more.
Limitations of PCs and consoles as servers in games
Another cross-play point of attention is when consoles or PCs act as servers for certain games.
In these cases, the available hardware resources can limit the number of players hosted on the servers, reducing or even making it impossible to play across different platforms.
What is the difference between cross-platform games and conventional games?
A conventional game does not allow people using smartphones, consoles, notebooks, tablets, PCs (desktop), etc. play the same game. In these cases, usually, only people with certain equipment can, through the Internet and remote servers, play together.
Some games are exclusive to certain environments and equipment, especially those developed for consoles. This strategy ends up driving the sale of these devices, as gamers who are interested in mechanics, plots, graphics, etc. of the exclusives end up buying their respective consoles.
However, the demand for cross-platform games has grown, which has made studios, developers, and console manufacturers invest more in this modality. This allows for more people to play the same game, which leaves room for earning income with other mechanisms, such as microtransactions.
What is the difference between cross-platform games and games development for many platforms?
Cross-platform games are also known as multiplatform games, however, they are different from games that can be played on different devices.
Got confused? It’s quite simple: in the past, it was common for a game to be released for multiple consoles, in addition to having a PC version. That way, people with different equipment could play the same game.
However, there is an important difference about games development for many platforms: people could play the same game but not the same online games or even interact in the game in other ways.
Although a game like this runs on multiple devices, only those users who were on the same equipment and platform could play together over the WEB.
Thus, even if the game was not exclusive to a console, for example, there were still limitations when it came to gathering friends to play it. This, however, was resolved with cross-platform games.
It is also necessary to highlight the so-called backward compatibility between console versions from the same manufacturer. For example, between PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4.
In this case, it is possible to play certain games from the older version (PS4) on the newer version (PS5). Including online matches with players from both consoles. But it is necessary to research if the desired games from the first console can be played on the second, as there are exceptions.
It is worth noting that the cross-game platform is a broader modality that can even encompass these previous compatibilities, increasing the range of interaction options for gamers.
When did this game modality start to emerge?
The first examples of games with some kind of compatibility or portability across platforms appeared in the late 1990s and early 2000s. However, they expanded even after the second half of the 2000s.
Many of them were related to the Sega Dreamcast, from 1998, as it was the first console to have built-in hardware (modular modem) that allowed Internet connection and online gameplay. The other consoles required external hardware for this.
As a result, some Dreamcast console games had certain cross-play features, which allowed their players to interact with PC gamers. However, the cross-platform features were limited to the technology and other features of the time.
Internet-ready consoles (specifically from the seventh generation onwards) followed from 2005 onwards.
The PlayStation 3 (Sony), Xbox 360 (Microsoft), and Nintendo Wii (Nintendo) have opened doors to the online environment. As a result, they provided more opportunities for the emergence of more advanced cross-play features.
With the arrival of more online systems, online stores, and game streaming, new compatibility and cross-platform features (cross-save, cross-buy) were developed until we reached cross-play.
What was the first game in this style?
Below, see some examples of games that took their first steps in the cross-game platform market:
Released in October 2000, 4X4 Evo is a game based on off-road racing; It was developed for console (Dreamcast, PlayStation 2) and PC (Macintosh, Windows).
This game was one of the first to feature a cross-platform online mode, in which the PC (Macintosh and Windows) and Dreamcast versions appeared online simultaneously.
Quake 3 Arena
This first-person shooter, also known as Quake 3 (Q3), was released for PC in December 1999. That’s for both Windows and Linux, with just a few days between the two.
The Dreamcast version arrived in October 2000. In this way, the Q3 made it possible for up to four gamers of that console and PC to play online.
Phantasy Star Online Ver. 1 and Ver. 2
Phantasy Star Online Ver. 1 was the first online RPG for consoles, having been released on the Dreamcast in December 2000.
However, Phantasy Star Online Ver. 2, released in December 2001, brought the first features of a cross-play game. This version was also ported to Windows, on PC.
Gamers could play cross-platform roleplaying, cooperatively, for three players. To do this, they had to pay a subscription fee to play.
Then it was ported to the GameCube. However, Dreamcast, PC, and GameCube owners couldn’t play together. Despite this, players could communicate in the lobby.
Final Fantasy XI
One of the best-known gaming franchises also had a game among the first to feature cross-play features: Final Fantasy XI Online. This game allowed its players to play together on their servers.
It was released in May 2002 for PlayStation 2, and in November 2002 for Windows. In April 2006, it was released for Xbox 360.
What are the main games in this category in the current market?
Currently, the cross-game platform modality has grown and many games stand out in it. Below, check out some of the most popular ones!
Released in July 2017 by Epic Games, Fortnite has become one of the most successful games in the battle royale genre. According to data from the Statista portal, in May 2020 the game had 350 million players.
This game also features many professional players and famous influencers such as Tyler “Ninja” Blevins. He has more than 24 million subscribers on YouTube alone and is even estimated to have earned US $17 million in 2019.
Leleo (Leonardo Arcanjo), who is part of the eSports organization LOUD, is 19 years old and has been standing out in Fortnite. He was the first South American to reach the final of the World Cup in Fortnite.
Currently, Leleo is one of the most prominent Brazilians in the game’s competitive scenario from Fortnite. He also won the Fortnite Champion Series of Trios. Other. Currently, it has more than 800 thousand subscribers on Youtube.
Another pro player and influencer are Pedro Kaíque, known as Lasers, who is also from the LOUD team and is 19 years old. It is worth noting that he was a finalist in the Fortnite World Cup.
In addition, he was the champion of the Fortnite Champion Series of Squad. Currently, it has more than 450,000 subscribers on YouTube.
Anyway, for being a cross-play game, Fortnite runs on platforms like:
- Nintendo Switch;
- Playstation 4;
- PlayStation 5;
- Xbox one;
- Xbox Series X/S;
As of April 2021, the game already had over 100 million players, with nearly 28.8 billion matches. The game took advantage of the growing battle royale market, in addition to being based on one of the most popular franchises today that has sold more than 400 million games.
The biggest competitive circuit in the game is the World Series of Warzone (WSOW). In addition, some of his famous digital pro players and influencers are DEXERT Call of Duty, with 127,000 subscribers on YouTube, and Nino “ninexT” Pavolini, with 481,000 subscribers on this platform.
CoD Warzone is compatible with the following platforms:
- Xbox one;
- Playstation 4.
The Minecraft, Mojang’s Studios, launched in 2011, is one of the most popular games today, having been a phenomenon among children and youth.
With over 200 million units sold, as of May 2020, this game is one of the longest-lived in popularity. There were over 126 million active players at that time, even approximately eight years after it was released.
In this game, players can build three-dimensional structures using square blocks. In its pixelated virtual world, players can also face off against other players and computer-controlled characters.
The game mainly features several modes, such as survival, in which players need to collect resources to stay alive. There’s also the creative, where players have unlimited resources to build objects and scenarios.
It is worth noting that Minecraft is one of the games with more versions for different platforms, such as:
- Nintendo Switch;
- Nintendo Wii U;
- New Nintendo 3DS
- Fire OS;
- Xbox 360;
- Xbox one;
- Raspberry Pi, among others.
The game gained a lot of popularity in 2020 when many digital influencers promoted matches on their channels and social media profiles. Thanks to this, the game, which had been released in 2018, gained momentum and became well known.
At The Game Awards 2020, the game won the best mobile game and best mobile game categories. Currently, Among Us can be played on mobile devices (Android, iOS), PC (Windows), and console (Nintendo Switch).
eFootball (former PES)
The eFootball, for Konami, is the new version of the old Pro Evolution Soccer, known as PES. In Japan, it was known as Winning Eleven.
In addition to being available on multiple platforms, the idea is for it to be cross-play as well. In this way, players from all over the world, through several different devices, will be able to play eFootball.
The goal is for it to be compatible with the following devices and systems:
- PlayStation 4;
- PlayStation 5;
- Xbox Series X/S;
- Xbox one;
- Windows 10 (PC);
- Steam (PC).
As seen, cross-game platforms bring together a large contingent of players from different systems and devices. Because of that, they become advantageous for people to play with each other.
It can also be good for companies, which may see an increasing number of players in their games. This expands business possibilities and, consequently, increases revenues.
To better take advantage of the financial opportunities of cross-platform games, it is important to know about payment solutions aimed at this segment.
For example, Latam Gateway options such as express billet and express deposit. In addition, there are other attractive financial options for players, such as cashback through PicPay and AME.
Interested? Then discover our payment solutions!