Back at the beginning of the century, game console developers made games only for their consoles – that is, they worked on only one console. Now the world has been captured by crossplay – a format in which users of different devices can participate in the same game: from smartphones and tablets to consoles and PCs. In this article, we are going to talk about such cross-platform games, explain why they are popular, and provide a list of the best cross-platform games to date.
Cross-play is a type of online game that supports gameplay between players on different devices. The simplest example is you and three of your friends decide to spend an evening in squad battles in Fortnite. You enter the game from a computer while your partners use two different consoles and, for example, a smartphone with a large screen.
Platforms for crossplay can be divided into several groups:
- Personal computers (PCs). PC games are called PC games, and cross-platform PC games are called PC game versions. In turn, PC games are divided depending on the operating systems on which they can run. Most PC games are designed for the Microsoft Windows family.
- Game consoles. Game consoles are specialized computers with an emphasis on the implementation of computer games. Games for consoles are called console games, and versions of cross-platform games for consoles are called console versions of games.
- Arcade slot machines. These are specialized devices designed exclusively for playing computer games. Due to the peculiarities of the structure of arcade machines, games for them are significantly different from games for other platforms. Arcade machines provide the player with the types of user interfaces that in most cases are not available or rare on other platforms: light guns, steering wheels, pedals, dance platforms, and other devices.
- Mobile devices. Modern smartphones and tablets can also act as gaming platforms. Today’s technology allows the mobile versions of cross-platform games to have almost the same quality as on the console.
Cross-platform games are gaining more and more popularity among both players and developers. Back last year, Jim Ryan, President of Sony Interactive Entertainment, said that more games are going to support cross-platform.
The period of the pandemic has also played an important role. People are at a distance from each other, and cross-play helps them stay connected and interact with each other. And the more platforms a game supports, the more players it can unite.
Cross-Platform vs. Multi-Platform
One should distinguish between the cross-platform and multi-platform. In the first case, players can simultaneously connect online from different devices. And in the case of the multi-platform, the game is simply supported on several types of devices and is not exclusive to a particular company.
There are often problems with multi-platform games, as the release date on different devices often differs. Also, PC and console versions of games may have minor or significant differences. For example, the popular games of The Elder Scrolls and GTA series became available for PC with simplified gameplay and not the most user-friendly interface.
Cross-Platform Games for Mobile Devices
You can play cross-platform games from your smartphone or tablet. A good example is the Genshin Impact game, which was released in 2020 and captivated gamers around the world. Already in the first two weeks, the game fully paid off, earning over $100 million.
Moreover, many of the users play Genshin exclusively from mobile devices, although the game is available on PC and supports PS4 and PS5. Even gaming experts have confirmed that it is optimal to play Genshin Impact on a tablet. As a result, the user gets an opportunity to enjoy excellent graphics, and the game interface focuses just on easy navigation through the touch screen.
However, the developers have a number of rules that help to adapt crossplay for mobile platforms. It is necessary to build scalable games, test them very carefully on all platforms, and provide powerful servers that will be able to withstand the influx of players in multiplayer mode.
According to the IDC Gaming Spotlight 2022 report by Data.ai, among cross-platform games, mobile gaming is expected to extend its global lead to 3.4x. As the report states, mobile devices now can offer console-like graphics and gameplay experiences as well as competitive and social gaming features across all supported platforms.
After the release of Genshin Impact, cross-platform releases of big mid-core console and PC games will be a very tempting gaming industry trend. The games of the RPG genre on mobile are now at the top of the list of highest-grossing mobile games. Top mobile phones are already capable of reproducing console-quality pictures, so more and more game developers are expected to start supporting mobile platforms for crossplay.
Best Cross-Platform Game Examples
We have collected a list of cross-platform games that are mostly played in the world as of 2022.
1. Among Us
Innersloth studio released the Among Us game in 2018 but it gained particular popularity with the onset of the coronavirus epidemic. In November 2020, the total number of players worldwide exceeded 500 million. This multi-player game is based on the principle of “Mafia”. The players are divided into space crew members and traitors. By performing tasks, the team will have to figure out the enemies and get rid of them. The game supports PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Windows, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Android, and iOS.
Released for PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Android, and iOS, Fortnite is one of the most popular cross-platform games. Early access from Epic Games took place in 2017, and the full version appeared in 2020. Fortnite has already become a cultural phenomenon, with the game hosting virtual concerts by Travis Scott, Ariana Grande, and other popular artists during the pandemic.
3. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
This new game in the Call of Duty series supports cross-platform play. The players can team up and participate in shared matches whereas the console player progress can be transferred within the same console family. The game is available for cross-play on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.
4. Mortal Kombat 11
Mortal Kombat 11 is a fighting game that has become an improved sequel to Mortal Kombat X. The release took place in April 2019. Already in 2020, version 11 became the best fighting game of the 23rd Annual D.I.C.E. Awards. In the updated version, the developers have created a completely new character customization system and updated the graphics. They have also included classic fighter heroes in the roster and created the most interesting plot in the 25-year history of the saga. Mortal Kombat 11 supports PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
5. Mushroom Wars 2
Mushroom Wars 2 is one of the best strategy video games available. It is a continuation of the popular game of the same name. As compared to the first version, the gameplay of Mushroom Wars 2 has become simpler and faster as well as the graphics have been updated. The action takes place in a fictional world where players have to capture enemy buildings. The game can be cross played on PC, macOS, Switch, Android, and iOS.
Available for macOS, Xbox One, Android, and iOS, Roblox is not a standalone game but rather an entire platform where players can create their own network games of different genres. In 2019, Roblox overtook Minecraft in the number of active users, and in April 2021, the figure has increased to 202 million. The possibilities of Roblox are almost endless. Each user can create their own place (game) or join local versions of The Sims or GTA. Almost all games in Roblox are multi-player.
7. Rocket League
The concept of this game is soccer, but with rocket-powered cars instead of players. The players can form a team with their friends and play against strangers. It is possible to crossplay the game on Xbox One, Switch, PC, PS4, iOS, and Android. The mobile version of the game, Rocket League Sideswipe, appeared in November 2021.
Being the most played game in the world as of 2022, Minecraft still remains a classic for many players. The players can construct buildings, play with friends, and even fight zombies and other monsters. The game is popular among children because it awakens creativity. Unfortunately, it took the developers quite too long to adopt the cross-play between the PC and console. But now, the crossplay is available for PC, PS4, PS5, Wii, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, Android, and iOS.
In this free online shooter of the sci-fi and fantasy genre, the player is either a magistrate or a paladin, one of two opposing groups. There are several game modes, such as team deathmatch, ranking, assault, and siege. To win a game, it is necessary to maintain continual touch with the teammates. The cross-platform options include PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch. There is also a mobile adaptation of Paladins called Paladins Strike, in the MOBA genre, which was launched in 2018.
10. Tooth and Tail
Developed by Pocketwatch Games, Tooth and Tail is a unique cross-platform game where the players are put in the role of freedom fighters presented by anthropomorphic mice. It is possible to crossplay via PC, Windows, Linux, and macOS.
This action roleplaying game with addictive gameplay supports the PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch platforms. The player is a Slayer who faces the task of taking down monsters called Behemoths. The player can use the materials collected from slaying to make more powerful gear and fight more hardcore beasts.
12. Genshin Impact
Genshin Impact is considered one of the most mainstream games. This is because many gamers have heard of it even if they do not play it, mostly due to its cross-play ability between PC and Playstation. It is also available for iOS and Android devices. However, there are no plans for the Xbox version of the game. As for Nintendo Switch, the developers announced that it was “coming soon” at the beginning of 2020, but this version is still being delayed.
13. Destiny 2
The most remarkable feature of this space shooter is that it is heavily cooperative, that is, many activities require teams of 3 to 6 players. The support of a wide range of platforms, such as PC, PS4, PS5, PC, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One, contributes to such cooperation. Not being limited by only one platform has helped to raise the game’s popularity. The game also has a Destiny 2 Companion app that keeps the player connected to their adventure in the game no matter where they are.
14. Riders Republic
This relatively new game offers something that cannot be found in other games – a multiplayer sports simulator in an open world. Players and their friends can race around on bikes and snowboards performing tricks and jumps. Riders Republic is compatible with PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One. The official mobile version is coming soon though it is possible to download the Riders Republic APK and try the game on Android devices.
15. Star Wars: Squadrons
This game for Star Wars fans is aimed at VR users, being a pilot simulator with Empire versus Rebels space battles. It is also possible to play the game without VR, but VR is recommended for greater immersiveness. Star Wars: Squadrons is available for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One.
Brawlhalla is one of the most popular cross-platform fighting games, which supports Mac, PC, iOS, Android, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Switch. The players need to take control of a colourful avatar, customize their loadout, and fight against up to three other players as they attempt to knock each other off a platform.
Gwent is a card game based on The Witcher book series, which debuted in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. The players need to build a deck of soldiers and monsters, and then compete against each other to see who can survive the longest. Gwent can be cross played on PC, iOS, and Android.
First released in 2016 by Blizzard, this first-person shooter remains one of the best multiplayer games out there due to character diversity, variety of maps and modes, and emphasis on teamwork. In 2021, Blizzard added cross-platform support, so now it is possible to play the game across the PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch platforms. In November 2021, it was rumoured that the mobile version of Overwatch may be on its way.
Over to You
Cross platforms games are a revolutionary way to unite as many players as possible, allowing the game developers to build huge online communities. This is because cross-play games not only support multiple devices but also make it possible to play the same version of the game across multiple platforms. Players can join the same game both from a console and a smartphone and enjoy the same high quality. Adding the support of mobile to a cross-platform game will help to greatly expand the target audience and thus boost sales.