Cross platform play has been a huge topic among gamers and companies this year. When Sony refused to enable cross platform play for Fortnite on PS4 with Nintendo Switch and Xbox One, their stock tanked and it resulted in Sony allowing cross platform play with both systems for the first time.
While Ubisoft believes the future of gaming is about the cloud, Skyrim and Fallout maker Bethesda hopes that the future will be about cross platform play. Bethesda’s Pete Hines explains that cross platform play will enable a “better community” without “arbitrary walls”, and this is something the video game industry is lagging behind.
Check out Hines’ full comments below:
What do you think the next generation of console hardware will bring?
Pete Hines: I think we’re going to continue to see streaming be a big thing among both console manufacturers and content providers of a wide variety. The ability to deliver games to people in a variety of different ways, easier and more quickly, on a wider variety of devices. I think it’ll be a theme.
I’m most heartened by Sony’s news last week about crossplay, because it seems that they’re going to open up and embrace not just crossplay, but crossplatform progression – those are two very different things. I don’t just want to able to play against people on other platforms. I also want to be able to take my progress with me from device to device. What I’ve unlocked, what my character can do, I want to be able to go from platform to platform. And both of those things I think are equally important, and I very much am hopeful that with the next gen platforms, we’ll see even more of that, in terms of treating our fanbase as a whole, as opposed to “here’s the Xbox folks, here’s the PS4 folks, here’s the Switch folks and PC” – everybody segmented and walled off from each other. We can just say, “you’re all playing Game X” and we can treat you all the same because your experiences are all the same, you’re playing against each other.
I think it just makes for a much better community, that we don’t have these arbitrary walls. I’m reminded of something Todd Howard said in an interview some years ago now, I’m paraphrasing him – I would like to see games get to the point that we view them like movies on DVD, which is to say if you want to go rent or buy Deadpool, you’re not buying it specifically for Sony players or Panasonic, you have a DVD and whatever plays DVDs plays DVDs. As a game creator, you just want to make a game and have it work the same everywhere, as opposed to these guys have these rules about how friends lists works, or whatever, while over here it’s completely different. So the more that we get to this [principle] that it’s just a game on whatever platform, we’re not siloing people, I think will be positive. So that, games as a service, and like you guys, I’m interested to see where they go with the hardware choices, the technologies and giving our devs more tools and horsepower to work with.
The manufacturers obviously do well out of brand loyalty and the idea of joining a team – I think you could trace a significant proportion of sales in this and previous generations to the notion of a “console war”.
Pete Hines: Yeah, but again it’s a problem other industries seem to have figured out. And I think at some point all of us are going to have to recognise it and embrace it in the same way that televisions do, or DVD and Blu-ray players do. You don’t go to plug your TV into cable and think “oh shit, this LGTV isn’t compatible with my Comcast box”. It all just works. You build brand loyalty in other ways.