Saturday, February 11, 2012

We need some REAL cross-platform gaming!

One of the most overlooked problems with this so-called "console war" that's constantly going on in the gaming industry, is the inability for friends and fans to "cross borders" and play together. This perpetual divide that keeps gamers in separate camps, with separate allegiances (PS3 vs. Xbox 360, specifically) also keeps them from being able to play together.

Firstly, I'll chime in with my personal opinion on this "console war":

The correct answer is always (and has always been): ALL OF THEM

Now, that doesn't apply to everyone. Not everyone can afford this solution, and I respect that. But the truth is, there is no platform that is superior to the others. They are all different, and each one offers something unique. If you want to really experience everything that makes gaming worthwhile, you have to own all of them. If you prefer a particular console, that's fine. Don't crap on someone else's preference. We need to stop this completely ridiculous flame-war.

< /rant-within-a-rant over >

Back to the topic at hand. Many gamers own only one of the gaming platforms (be it a PS3, Xbox 360, Wii or a PC). And there are many games that are released on many of those platforms (games that are released for both Xbox 360 and PS3 are quite common). My point is that there is no reason that these versions of the same game should not be able to interact with one-another.

I am a pretty big fan of fighting games. I love fighting games. Few things in life disappoint me as much as when I meet someone and discover that they share a love of fighting games as well, but they play on a different platform. I love me some Super Street Fighter IV, and recently I've met some other Street Fighter fans, and have faced a disappointing dead-end when they told me that they play online on Xbox LIVE (I prefer to play my SSFIV on a PS3). This is an alarmingly common experience that keeps happening to me. Fighting games, racing games, I play on PS3, they play on Xbox 360, I play on Xbox 360, they play on PS3... it never ends.

There is no reason to split a game's online community between two platforms. Everyone who plays Street Fighter online, should be able to play with anyone else who plays Street Fighter online (PC included, of course).

Of course, this is my wishful thinking. There are many business-related reasons to oppose this. For different versions of the game to interact, they must of course, be identical. Meaning, that no version of the game can feature any unique elements (obviously, the Xbox 360 version would not be able to have a character that is not in the PS3 version). If neither version can be promoted as better than the other, then how can the console manufacturers convince people to buy their version?

But I disagree with this way of thinking. I believe that developers and publishers owe it to gamers to let them play together. Besides, there are many other reasons for a player to prefer one platform over another: the shape and feel of a controller, for one.

I'm tired of only being able to play with half of my friends (and no, buying the game twice is not a solution in my eyes). C'mon developers! Publishers! Let's do our jobs and get people playing together!

It would be the first step in ending this tiresome "console war".

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