By Cody Perez
May 23, 2019
The core of a competitive or esports game is its multiplayer. Competition is what makes these games fun to play as well as to watch as a fan. Fans of games come just to watch someone stream, and there are plenty of streamers who make a living off of streaming and playing competitive multiplayer games.
The problem then becomes if you have a limited number of opponents or if the friends you wish to play with and/or against are on a different platform but playing the same game. I, personally, believe in and hope for a future where every single multiplayer game can be played together no matter what platform you’re on.
Realistically speaking, though, this is possible and probably will happen but not for some time at least. As of right now, there are only two games period that allow for cross-play no matter what platform you wish to play on: Fortnite and Rocket League.
Both of these are major competitive games that have a healthy esports scene to boot. The problem with this, though, is that there are still so many other major games that you would think would have this functionality but don’t, like Overwatch, PUBG, any Call of Duty game, and so on. I think they should.
For this list, I am going to give you the 10 games that I believe deserve to have cross-play and not just in the far future, but very soon, if possible. These are stalwart multiplayer games that set the standard for esports, competition, and playing together, so it’s imperative they get cross-play.
I am basing this list on games that aren’t able to play with every platform, so even if a few different games can play with each other on some platforms, they are still game to be on this list. Also, a recurring thing you will notice with this is that the main problem is Sony and PS4.
Sony has been tough about allowing other platforms, specifically other consoles, to play multiplayer with the games on its system. Though this problem has been alleviated in two situations, it is a major issue with other games that you will find on this list. It’s time to get started.
Apex Legends came onto the scene in February 2019 and quickly garnered an unprecedented level of fame and success in a relatively short period of time. The free to play battle royale is fun to play, but it does have a fair share of problems.
Since its launch, the game has steadily decreased in popularity and players to an almost dangerous point. There is certainly still time for the game to recover, but it will take a lot of fixing to do. One particular way that the game can improve is by allowing cross-play.
Apex Legends brings so many unique things to the table for players like its respawn and ping systems that even other, older battle royale games like Fortnite are imitating. If EA and Respawn want to continue being unique, it’s time that the game gets cross-play, too.
Now, the reason that it is so high on this list is that there are, honestly, a lot more important problems that this game needs to fix before it can really focus on allowing platforms to play together. For one, it’s not even available for mobile or Switch yet, which I think needs to happen first and foremost.
Like I mentioned, there are some games on this list that already have cross-play in some form, and Final Fantasy XIV is one of them. If you were to pick up this game right now on PC, PS4, or Mac, you will find that you play on the exact same world as one another.
If your friend is on PC, and you are on PS4, you can play together right now. This isn’t a problem at all. But cross-play is a major problem for the future of the game. Square Enix wants to bring the MMO to other systems like Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, but Sony is standing in the way.
Square Enix rightfully wants all platforms the MMO is on to be able to play together. This is a core value of the MMORPG, and it shouldn’t have to change. What needs to change is Sony’s policy on the matter so that players can enjoy Final Fantasy XIV on any platform they want and play with whatever platform they want.
Rockstar Games truly has one of the most influential and successful video games of all time with Grand Theft Auto V. If you were to look at the top 10 sales charts for each month, you will probably find this game somewhere on the list even years after its release.
The reason behind this is its freeform and addictive multiplayer. Dozens of players can jump into a server together, cause mayhem, do some roleplay, and just have fun. It’s pure multiplayer joy at its finest, but one key thing that’s missing is the ability to play together with other platforms.
This is a major issue because if Rockstar Games wants to see the game continue to be in the top sales for each year, this issue should be addressed. At the very least, it needs to be a day-one feature for the next entry in the series.
This likely isn’t a problem with Rockstar or publisher 2K, but an issue with the console manufacturers. But there is the possibility that the developer hasn’t pursued multiplayer with other platforms, in which case, this will absolutely need to change soon.
Smite is another game that has some level of cross-platform play that is available for some platforms, but not all of them. Unlike the last two entries on this list, this is a free to play MOBA game. There aren’t many free to play games on this list, let alone MOBA free to play games.
Smite can set the standard for other MOBA and free games by adding this functionality to it for all platforms. It will take some convincing to get PS4 to jump on board with Xbox, PC, and Switch, but I do think that this is entirely possible.
In fact, given that there aren’t too many MOBA games on console and PC, it is likely that Sony will make an exception for this game earlier than some of the others on this list. But because it does already have a little bit of multiplayer available together on some platforms, we’ve got it this far down the list.
It’s a shame that the two games to have full functionality aren’t even the biggest AAA games around. It’s about time that one of those games gets the cross-play treatment, and what better one than a Call of Duty game?
Now, I put Black Ops 4 specifically here, but it doesn’t have to be this entry in particular. It can be the next one or the one after that, which will likely launch day one on the brand-new next-generation systems.
The Call of Duty series as a whole was one of the front runners in bringing multiplayer gaming to the forefront in the industry. Competitive online and tournament play was here in this series long before it ever came to other games or became as popular as it is today.
As such, it only makes sense that Activision pave the way in a new way by allowing all systems or at least all consoles to play together in multiplayer. I do get that there can be some disparity between PC and consoles when it comes to online, which is why it’s this low on the list.
Just like the Call of Duty series continues to chug along making tons of money, so does FIFA. This soccer video game series never fails to impress in sales each year. Gamers love a good sports game, including less dedicated gamers who only check one or two games per year.
The problem with this is that there are so many less hardcore gamers who just picked up whatever system was on sale, not thinking about what their friend has or knowing enough to care. This becomes a major issue when they try to play online with them only to find out that they can’t.
It would be great if EA made the effort to allow for all players across all platforms to enjoy FIFA together. Though I mentioned the current game in the series, this doesn’t really make sense for that game to do it. It probably makes more sense if the next entry in the soccer franchise does this. Regardless, cross-play functionality needs to happen.
Warframe is a beloved free to play game for a reason. There is no other game like it, blending together super fun sci-fi ninja moves with magic-like skills, swords, and even guns. It’s a crazy mix that ties up nicely into an addictive online package.
The problem, though, is that there is basically no cross-play functionality available in the game whatsoever. This is a major problem since there are plenty of players who would probably love to play with their friends.
This is further made annoying by the fact that the game is available on all consoles and PC. Unlike many of the games on this list, it has the ability to affect all platforms right now. Unfortunately, it isn’t doing that currently.
Given that the game mostly centers around cooperative multiplayer rather than competitive, it seems more ripe to benefit from all platforms working together more than most. Here’s hoping that we can see this happen in the near future, even if it’s just for a few platforms.
Ah, Overwatch. This game is in a weird place right now if you ask me. With battle royale games continuing to dominate, it feels like this game is declining in the overall esports scene. What better way to rejuvenate the hero shooter than to have everyone play together?
If this is too much of a problem for PC to coordinate with the console versions, I totally understand. I think that, in that case, it would be great if the Xbox One and PS4 versions could work together. After all, if there’s anyone else who could make the two forces work together, it’s Activision Blizzard.
In addition, I’d like to see Overwatch become available on Nintendo Switch, too. I’m sure there are others like me who would totally jump back into the game given the chance if it came to Switch. Here’s hoping that it can find its way there and that it will have cross-play, too.
These final two picks on this list are the ones that I would reckon cross-play would come to before any other games here. The first is Minecraft. As of right now, every single platform can work and play together in the block-building game if they want.
Well, except PS4, that is. No longer are the days of each game having its own separate version that is updated occasionally, with some behind others. Now, Mojang is making it so that there is one cohesive game between console and PC.
Again, except PS4. PS4 is the only version to still follow the old trend, and it’s isolated because of this. Now, there might be a good reason why Sony is hesitant to allow the PS4 version to connect with all of the other ones, and that’s Microsoft.
Microsoft does own Minecraft, so it is entirely possible that this is a bit of pettiness on Sony’s part. Regardless of what the reason is, the PS4 version (and everyone else) would benefit from it finally joining with the rest of the group.
It’s the battle royale game that truly kicked off the craze. Fortnite, Apex, and Blackout all have this game to thank for their successes. So, if Fortnite can have all platforms play together, why can’t PUBG? It stands to reason that this is going to happen sooner rather than later.
I imagine that the PUBG Corp is working hard to make this happen as you read this. After all, while I do think that Fortnite and PUBG fill different areas of the battle royale genre, I do think that the game needs to at least have the same functionality as its competitor.
As such, it makes its way to the top spot on the list. Given the similarities between it and the first game to allow for full multiplayer across all platforms, I believe it’s only a matter of time until PUBG joins Fortnite and Rocket League.