The Dumb Lie Gamers Still Believe

The Dumb Lie Gamers Still Believe

Recently, Microsoft has been hyping up its new cross-play and cross-buy functionality with PCs. Essentially, future games will allow PC and Xbox One gamers to play with each other (cross-play). For some games, one copy is a viable purchase on both platforms (cross-buy). This is what Xbox executive Kudo Tsunoda had to say about it.

For a long time we’ve had PC gamers and console gamers who weren’t really able to play together,” Tsunoda in an interview with GameIndustry International. “That’s why cross-play is still such a powerful idea. You should be able to play what you love, and play together, regardless of what device you’re playing on. It’s about connecting people.”

“It’s a really unique value that only we can offer,” he added. “You still need very gamer-focused values, but there’s lots of things you can do with our technology. We’ve really got a lot more going on [than our competitors]. We’re doing things that can’t be done on any other console.”

Things that can’t be done on any other console, eh? It’s too bad that’s a lie.

First of all, let’s be honest with ourselves here. Technology is just a bunch of chips and wires, 1s and 0s. The hardware inside the Xbox One isn’t really that different from the hardware in the PS4. For that matter, it’s all hardware that you could pretty much just get and put in a gaming PC. It’s a graphics card, processor, hard drive, USB ports, all stuff that we find in normal computers all the time. There’s nothing on the hardware side that specifically prevents an Xbox One, PS4, or PC from talking with each other.

For that matter, there’s nothing on the software side that is really preventing consoles from talking with each other either. The Xbox One is based on Windows architecture, and the PS4 is based on a Unix-like firmware and both of these operating systems can talk with each other just fine. Think about instant messaging clients. They don’t simply cease working because they are used on different operating systems.

But if you don’t believe me, then try this experiment yourself. Boot up web browsers on two different consoles or a console and a PC. Then, navigate to a free chat site, any one will do. Then enter the same chatroom, or better yet, start a private chat between the two browsers. You’ll notice that the chatroom works just fine!

This chat room is doing the same thing that you are doing when you play games online. Data is either being sent directly from one console to another, or directly from a console to a server back to the other console. The only difference is that it’s game data that is being transmitted, not chat room text, but it’s still 1s and 0s all the same.

The Dumb Lie Gamers Still Believe

Technology is not limiting us when it comes to cross platform interactivity. Heck, Portal 2 was cross platform on the PS3 and PC. Rather, cross-buy and cross-play functionality is all just a business decision. It’s not within Sony and Microsoft’ s best interest to allow cross platform support, because it gives fans less impetus to buy the console that their friends are on. For that matter, it wasn’t within either company’s best interest to provide cross console play with the PC because it meant users could get the same gameplay experience without having to buy their consoles.

That’s the nasty little secret most AAA companies don’t want to tell you. Our hardware limitations really aren’t all that limiting, nor are our software limitations. Anything short of VR or holograms is pretty much in our reach. Things like “cross play” have been done for ages, back to the old days when you would connect to a specific computer in order to play Doom. The only reason why we don’t have this functionality is because console manufacturers don’t want us to. It’s all a lie, so don’t believe the hype.

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