On 12 June 1987, Pres­i­dent Ronald Rea­gan fa­mously said, “Mr Gor­bachev, tear down this wall!” Over 30 years later, and it feels a lot like the games in­dus­try is call­ing for some­thing sim­i­lar: an end to hos­til­i­ties be­tween plat­forms and the be­gin­ning of open bor­ders for mul­ti­player gamers. We’re be­gin­ning to see the early ben­e­fi­cia­ries of it through Rocket League, Minecraft and even Fort­nite be­ing playable across PC, con­sole and smart­phone, but more can be done.

“Fort­nite and PUBG re­cently made a huge im­pact on gam­ing by hav­ing cross-plat­form ex­pe­ri­ences that spanned the PC, con­soles and mo­bile,” says Over­watch direc­tor Jeff Ka­plan. “Cross-plat­form ex­pe­ri­ences, es­pe­cially in so­cial games or games with per­sis­tent pro­gres­sion, are very ex­cit­ing.”

The only real bar­rier to this thus far ap­pears to be Sony, which prefers to keep cross play lim­ited to PS4 with PC and not much else. Why won’t it support play­ing with Xbox and Switch play­ers? Per­haps be­cause it’s the mar­ket leader, and doesn’t feel the need to give its com­peti­tors a help­ing hand. Cyn­i­cal per­haps, but an un­der­stand­able po­si­tion if that’s the case. We know it’s pos­si­ble though, as Epic ac­ci­den­tally con­nected PS4 and Xbox One play­ers on Fort­nite for a few hours in Oc­to­ber 2017.

“I hope to see plat­forms open up and embrace the way play­ers want to play more,” adds Ka­plan. “The tech­nol­ogy and de­sire ex­ists. I be­lieve it would be ben­e­fi­cial to ev­ery­one to open plat­forms up more to bring play­ers to­gether. So I’m def­i­nitely hop­ing for more cross-plat­form op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

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