Hey friend! As a passionate tech geek and avid gamer, I often get asked – why isn‘t crossplay available in every game? It‘s a fair question, since playing with friends across platforms is awesome. In this guide, I‘ll break down the key reasons crossplay has limitations, but also highlight some of my favorite free crossplay games worth checking out.
The Challenges of Crossplay
Crossplay is complex to implement across platforms due to technical and business challenges. At a basic level, the different console and PC ecosystems don‘t always play nice with each other. Here are some of the big reasons crossplay isn‘t universal yet:
Server Capacity and Resources
For online multiplayer games, crossplay means the developer has to build or rent servers that work across platforms. That takes significant engineering resources and server capacity planning to make sure gameplay is smooth. As an example, Epic Games had to spend millions growing Fortnite‘s servers for its huge crossplay audience across 7 platforms.
Platform Politics and Exclusivity Deals
Sony and Microsoft want you to buy their console and game on their online ecosystem. So they have been resistant to fully open crossplay. Platform holders also make exclusivity deals with developers to restrict games to their console. These business decisions constrain crossplay capabilities.
Maintaining Separate Communities
Game developers have invested years nurturing Xbox, PlayStation and PC communities separately. Fully combining them risks fragmenting those established player bases. So some developers prefer maintaining platform exclusive communities.
Every platform has unique technical quirks that make coding smooth crossplay difficult:
- Various network protocols and servers
- Differing patch update approvals
- Varying middleware and SDKs
- Hardware performance differences
- Controls and interface changes
These all have to be navigated for seamless crossplay.
Data and Interesting Facts on Crossplay
Let‘s look at some data that highlights the evolving crossplay landscape:
- Only 30% of top multiplayer games supported crossplay in 2020 (Newzoo)
- 76% of gamers are interested in crossplay (Newzoo 2020)
- Top crossplay games drive higher revenue – Fortnite alone made $9 billion from 2018-2019 with crossplay.
So while crossplay has challenges, there are signs of positive momentum from both developers and players.
My Favorite Free Crossplay Games
Alright, enough tech talk! Here are some awesome free crossplay games I‘d recommend checking out with friends:
The battle royale sensation allow crossplay between PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, PC and mobile. Party up with friends on any supported platform for the full 100 player experience. With frequent updates and in-game events, there‘s always something new to enjoy in Fortnite with crossplay buddies.
This soccer with cars game supports crossplay between all major consoles, PC and mobile. Up to 8 players can join matches seamlessly across platforms for competitive and fun casual games. I love how quick and fluid Rocket League matches are while allowing my console and PC friends to play together.
Call of Duty: Warzone
Activision‘s popular free-to-play battle royale shooter has full crossplay. Squad up in Warzone matches with up to 150 players on console, PC and mobile. Being able to stay in a party with COD friends regardless of platform is clutch.
World of Tanks
This team-based tank warfare game has crossplay between Xbox, PlayStation, PC and mobile. I‘m obsessed with battle tanks, and World of Tanks does a great job translating that interest into approachable free-to-play multiplayer.
Here‘s a cool MOBA game where you control mythological Gods like Thor and Loki in team arena battles. SMITE has crossplay between Xbox, PlayStation, Switch and PC. I dig the variety of game modes and characters you can seamlessly enjoy with friends across platforms.
Crossplay Is Improving
While it will take time for universal crossplay, the trend is moving in the right direction. The technology is maturing, gamers are demanding it, and companies seem more committed to breaking down platform barriers. We‘ll hopefully see crossplay become a standard feature in the near future.
In the meantime, there are some seriously fun free games that let us play together now regardless of our console or PC. So gather your friends, make a crossplay party, and game on!