Ever had an experience where you found a game that you eagerly want to play but it’s only available on a certain console that you don’t currently own? We’ve all been there.
It’s heartbreaking to finally be able to find a game that looks like it’ll fit alongside your game style perfectly only to be denied of it. Free-to-play online games usually have cross-platform capabilities to further broaden their horizons.
Take Hi-Rez Studios, for example. They specialize in bringing in online competitive games that are free-to-play to every platform such as Paladins, Dauntless, and the newest of the bunch, Rogue Company. All of these games are available to play on every console plus PC.
There are some companies, however, that refuse to budge. By only having their game available to play using only one platform, it limits the potential players that otherwise want to play the game. Cross-play is still something that’s being developed upon, to be fair.
But since 2020 has been quite a… complicated year, to say the least, everyone is encouraged to stay at home and play games instead. Fortnite is one of the few games that can be played on every platform. Available to download, play, and access the Fortnite item shop on PC, PS4, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and Android, it’s no wonder Fortnite has such a large-scale player base within its grasp. Without crossplay, it’s highly plausible that Fortnite would simply fizzle out just like the other Battle Royale games that came after it.
When Did Crossplay Start?
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when crossplay was first invented, but it’s often said that Sony was the first company to implement it in one of their games. As ironic as it may seem since they’re now actually limiting the crossplay-enabled games to their console only, Sony was actually the pioneer of cross playing online games to other platforms.
The game was Final Fantasy XI in 2002. It was the first game to ever allow players to interact with multiple platforms and play together. As a result, Final Fantasy XI was touted as the most popular MMORPG in Japan in 2008, garnering between the numbers of 200,000 to 300,000 logging in every day.
It was even acknowledged by the Guinness World Records as the first cross-platform online RPG. While we’ve come a long way since then and it’s easy to access the Fortnite item shop across all platforms, back then it was practically unheard of.
Why Crossplay Matters in Fortnite
Being able to play together despite having different consoles is considered to be the key ingredient in cooking up a successful online game. Take Rocket League, for example. In 2019, it launched its full cross-platform play between PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Since then, it has accumulated a total of five billion matches played since its launch.
The ability to play with friends without having to worry about what device they have is a godsend and is ultimately a win-win situation for both the developers and consumers. While some don’t like it since they think that some players have an advantage towards them like PC players, at the end of the day it’s all about accessibility.
It’s hard to imagine Fortnite is only available to a certain group of people. Without the power of cross-play, it’s safe to say the Fortnite battle royale game wouldn’t have as much attention as it did during its launch. According to one of the analysts of Epic Games, over 44% of Fortnite players were using the cross-play feature while spending 1.5 hours longer in the game compared to those that don’t use cross-play. Not only is this a big factor in monetization, but it also enables Epic Games to keep creating new content for players to enjoy.
To have a healthy amount of players be able to survive and grow despite the competition, cross-play is essential. You can’t unify your players and create a better experience without the help of all gaming platforms. Being able to access the Fortnite item shop on your mobile and PC at the same time opens the door to many possibilities for developers on what’s next. Luckily, we can all see where Epic Games will head next thanks to Fortnite still being active and kicking. What do you think about cross-play? Do you love it or hate it? Let us know by leaving a comment down below!