You're not logged in | Login / Register | News Filter | Submit News

Sony's cross-platform play initiative on PlayStation 4 leaves beta phase meaning we may see the feature pop up in fighting games very soon

The future is now... maybe

Posted by Dakota 'DarkHorse' Hills • October 5, 2019 at 7:21 p.m. PDT • Comments: 29

Cross-platform play has been one of the focal points of the future of multiplayer games during the second half of this gaming generation, and it's a move that could potentially benefit fighting games greatly though there'd been one roadblock holding things back: Sony's insistence of shutting down initiatives on PlayStation 4 to other consoles.

Now that barrier has apparently been unceremoniously torn down to pave the way for a new gaming landscape where video game developers can implement the option pretty much at their discretion — or so it seems at least.

The news came in one paragraph at the end of a Wired feature where Sony announced their big price cut for PlayStation Now without much fanfare, but the company's cross-play initiative has now left the beta phase apparently signaling just about anyone can implement the feature — which the new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is looking to take advantage of.

There are only a few fighting games on the current market that support play between multiple systems though most of those have been tied to PC and one of the three major consoles for typical support.

"The track record of the incumbent platform winning the next time around is not a great one. So the major thrust of my executive energy is to avoid complacency" - Jim Ryan, Sony

Street Fighter 5 of course launched with cross-play between PS4 and PC while Killer Instinct and Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite (Windows version) can be played between Xbox One and PC users.

Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid has been one of the pioneers for the fighting genre in that regard as it currently offers cross-platform play and progression between Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and now Steam as well.

Their developers at nWay have stated before that their lack of support for the aforementioned features on PS4 was due to Sony's stance on denying cross-play between rivaling consoles at the time before big titles like Fortnite and Rocket League began to tear down those walls.

We now potentially live in a world where new and maybe some existing fighting games will no longer be segregated to their own corners of the internet which could serve as a big boost in the available player pool instantaneously.

This could make a huge impact in a genre where some players need to use other resources like Discord and Reddit to find online matches in fighting games that are not among the most popular right now.

Cross-play has been more a focal point for western game developers, so our highest initial chance of seeing the online boost added after launch may come in Mortal Kombat 11.

NetherRealm Studios was asked on multiple occasions leading up to MK11's release if it would support the feature to which the devs responded that it wouldn't be there at the beginning but they'd be looking into it for the future.

Other developers like Arika also expressed interest in adding cross-play to Fighting EX Layer, but they ultimately did not have the internal resources and funds available to put it together.

There has been some skepticism amongst the fighting game community about the potential for extra lag and worse connections if cross-play were to be used in a genre where many players are already unimpressed with the netcode in many current games on the market.

Sajam discusses the issue of modern fighting games lacking features common in other genres including netcode

This is a valid worry to have, but from the experiments we've seen so far, the move has been largely successful even if it does produce the occasionally laggy match.

We likely won't see platform agnostic online games become the norm until the next generation of consoles since we're only about a year out or so from their launch, so we can hope that more online infrastructure advancements can be implemented by then to help players have that smooth experience we all desire inside.

It will be especially interesting to see how this impacts Microsoft and perhaps a future Killer Instinct title considering the company had already began putting their prior exclusives onto PC and the Switch. Perhaps, we may see a timeline where KI2 will also be on PS5 to get the biggest combined playerbase possible.

Sony hasn't really gone into their reasoning for rolling out the full cross-play plans now and why they did it so quietly, but it could be from some mounting pressure going into the next generation.

"The track record of the incumbent platform winning the next time around is not a great one," said CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment Jim Ryan via Wired. "So the major thrust of my executive energy is to avoid complacency."

PS4 has seen meteoric success for the company amassing over 100 million consoles sold worldwide, but they were in a similar position with the PS2 before they were essentially trounced by the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii for the first few years of the PS3's life playing catch up for the rest of the generation.

Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid developers nWay have not commented on the potential of adding cross-play support following the news. EventHubs reached out to the company about the subject but has not heard back from them as of the time of reporting.

Cross-platform play has the potential to be one of the biggest developments for fighting games going forward bringing together communities like never before though how it will be implemented in practice remains to fully be seen. There may be some growing pains ahead of us, but we can finally pave the way to a connected future where players can buy just about any title for the console of their choice and still play with their friends and competition.

Load comments (29)