It is always a time in the gaming world that gets players riled. The new generation of consoles are about to be released and there are always some cool new features to re-enliven the experience.
However, there is definitely an exciting chapter for gamers coming soon, as the decades-long siloing of gaming experiences comes to an end.
While we would love to say that this is a definite innovation, you know how tightlipped games and console developers can be. We could get over-excited and say this was definitely going to happen. However, as always in the world of gaming journalism, we are basing our opinions on rumor and slip-ups. For instance, in a trailer for a game called Chivalry, there was a hint dropped that it would allow cross-platform play. The trailer was quickly withdrawn from public viewing but not before a host of gaming geeks took a screenshot of the promise.
Is this hint of cross-play enough for us? Hell, yeah! We know what Sony and Microsoft are like – they are gently preparing the gamers’ minds for the transition in gameplay. Not only does it promise you can use whatever console you like but that you can play on any age of console.
So, we are taking this hint very seriously. But what does it actually mean?
A new generation of gaming
For years you had to choose your brand. Your loyalty was determined by the titles that consoles could command or the wider community of players that showed up for your console of choice.
The Playstation 5 and the Xbox Series X are set to be released ready for the Christmas market. This will bring to an end the silo of experiences, as you will be able to play titles across consoles.
However, it is not just cross-platform gaming that is exciting, but also cross-generation and cross-progression. In other words, you will be able to play earlier versions of titles on either console and you will be able to save your progress between the two consoles too. This means that you can start your game on the Playstation 5 and continue where you left off on the Xbox Series X.
If you are looking for an excuse to buy the new console and this ruins your internal dialogue, know that the games will play much better on the newer machines. The experience on the Xbox Series X should smash your current Xbox One to smithereens.
The games leading the innovation
Currently, there are only two titles announced for this cross platform gaming experience – but they are impressive names: Destiny 2 and Fortnite are leading the way in this innovation. Epic Games, the name behind Fortnite, claims that the player should be able to take their account with the game from one console to another and therefore carry everything with them. However, they plan to support this cross-play across platforms, including current consoles. Therefore, you wouldn’t need to make the investment in the new console tech.
Minecraft is largely given credit for this movement in thinking for gaming. Where before, when you progressed to the next console you would have to start afresh, with Minecraft you could carry your world with you. The popularity of this game made it essential that other titles push for the same capabilities.
Minecraft is published by Microsoft, who chose to release it across platforms and not just limiting it to its own Xbox brand. They also had the foresight to allow for cross-play on a phone and PC as well as a gaming console. Therefore, Minecraft became a world you could inhabit without borders.
The knock-on effect of this is huge, as it has prompted other developers to see how essential it is to break down barriers. Locking gamers into platforms limited the possibilities of online gaming and any limits reduces success and profitability.
What does this mean for the future?
The idea of exclusives will be long gone. Once you can buy any title on any console, the console developers will have to work harder for brand loyalty. Up to now Playstation has won the war of the consoles by attracting some of the most iconic gaming titles. Xbox has its Halo franchise but this is about all that differentiates it from its rival.
Now, however, the success of the console will not be defined by the gaming titles it offers. A gamer should, in the future, be able to play any game, from any time, anywhere and with anyone else. This is an exciting prospect, and just because it widens the gaming audience we can interact with. It is also exciting because console developers will need to look at the graphics, the sound, the interactivity, the speed, the tracking – and all those geeky decisions that make gaming a delicious experience.
In short, this change from siloed gameplay to cross-platform gaming is likely to be the best thing that has ever happened for the consumer. This is why everyone is getting excited about what the holiday season will bring.
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