Gaijin Entertainment, the Russian game developer and publisher behind titles like Star Conflict, War Thunder, Crossout and Enlisted, was among the studios who recently voiced their discontent with Sony's decision to restrict approval into their console cross-play beta program. Hi-Rez also expressed the same sentiment via his CEO's Twitter.
However, SIE Worldwide Studios Chairman Shawn Layden said in a recent interview that developers need only discuss this matter with their PlayStation account manager to get through. Following this news, we have reached out once again to Gaijin, who provided a new statement by CEO Anton Yudintsev. He reckons most if not all of the developers are ready to flip the proverbial 'switch' to enable full cross-play once Sony provides the green light. Yudintsev also pointed out that matchmaking is only one step, though, and other features such as cross-platform voice chat and cross-account will have to be supported as well.
Most, if not all the developers whose titles support cross-play are ready to ‘toggle the switch’ and let full cross-play happen. We’ll be happy if the quote from the Game Informer interview means that getting cross-play clearance will get faster, and will be waiting for the news from our account manager.
Back in 2013 PlayStation 4 was the first console to support cross-platform gaming, and that allowed PS4 to have online games as launch titles. When the sales of the new consoles just started, the player base just could not be big enough for quick matching in MMO’s. By the time of PS4 launch War Thunder already had huge PC player base and console players seamlessly joined the existing community.
As we were one of the first on this cross-platform road it was some kind of a challenge. Cross-play titles require the updates to be released simultaneously on all the platforms. Together with Sony, we worked out the process of getting the updates approved and released in a few days, instead of several weeks as it was done before with the non-cross-play titles. The success of PS4+PC solution encouraged other platform holders. Now PC+console cross-play is a common practice and we see more and more developers launching their games with cross-play support from the very beginning.
At Gaijin, we are happy to see that Microsoft and Nintendo went further, allowing cross-console play for all the developers. We are sure that full cross-play is the future of gaming, considering the constantly growing popularity of online titles. For these games, especially those with tier base matchmaking, cross-play is almost essential, as it significantly shortens waiting time for a battle, thus providing better gaming experience. Not to mention that cross-play allows gamers to play with their friends, no matter which platform they are using.
United matching would be a big step on the way to full cross-play, but only the first one. Voice chat is also important and it’s good to see that Sony allows developers to have cross-platform voice chats in their games. All platform holders should probably iron out their positions on voice/regular chats, ideally allowing seamless experience in all cross-play games for all players regardless of the platform they personally prefer. Next big thing will be cross-platform account migration when players can either play on PC using their console accounts or switch from PC to console saving the progress and purchases. But united matching is what can be already done to provide players with a better gaming experience.
Ideally, as mentioned by the CEO of Gaijin, all three of those features should be enabled in cross-play games. It seems like the industry is definitely moving in that direction, though, whether Sony likes it or not. Big players like Microsoft and Epic are pushing for it, and Nintendo isn't putting any obstacles on the way either. After all, it seems only fair that gamers should be able to play with their friends regardless of where they purchased a certain game.