Cross-Platform Multiplayer

When you play Call of Duty on Xbox Live, do you wish you could play with your friends on the Playstation network?
A common feature most games have is multiplayer. Ever since the advent of the Internet, multiplayer gaming has moved on from split-screens, to ethernet and LAN networks, to stand-offs with some unknown player on the other side of the planet. Microphones have allowed us to easily communicate with one another, and innovative games have created wonderful multiplayer experiences. However, with all of these capabilities, there’s still a downside. Due to the brand loyalty system so masterfully employed by Sony and Microsoft (Nintendo is an entirely different matter), people playing the game on one system can’t play multiplayer matches with people on other systems.

This is an issue that holds players back, forcing them to have to accept the brand rivalry norm, or to play multiple systems. Has this ever been overcome? Of course – Valve put a Steam overlay into Portal 2’s console versions, allowing players to play cooperative levels with people on Steam. However, the only other companies that could possibly do this sort of thing without using Steam are EA and Ubisoft, and as we all know, Origin and U-Play both have a severe lack of popularity. So, what should we do?

We should get a Steam console. It could use the Big Picture, and games would be compatible and thus use Valve servers or player-run servers like in Garry’s Mod and Team Fortress 2. However, this would cause us to have to abandon our other consoles, and this might make companies refuse to put their games on Steam…

As you can see, all choices have an opportunity cost and an opportunity benefit. You need to be able to recognize these.

What are your thoughts on cross-platform gaming? Is it a good idea, or a bad one? Please share your opinions.



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