Is Cross-Platform Gaming The Next Big Thing?

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Is Cross-Platform Gaming The Next Big Thing?

Admittedly, we haven't seen a lot of this going on lately. There's a certain amount of rush to exclusives in gaming, but what we don't hear much of is something called "cross-platform play," in which those gamers playing one game on, say, an Xbox One can't play with gamers who are playing on PlayStation 4. This can be inconvenient, especially for those who game with friends--"South Park" spent like three episodes on this with its "Game of Thrones" parody. But now, that may be about to change with some new developments, and it's all thanks to one indie studio.

Some games, particularly shooters, have occasionally allowed for user-generated content that can be passed from one user to another. "Unreal Tournament 3" was one big example of that, and for those players, there was even a note of that sweet cross-platform action as PC players could hand off to PlayStation 3 players, which in turn opened up quite a few new maps and associated mods for players to enjoy. That made for plenty of extra value for the players, but it wasn't seen too often beyond that. That changes with, of all things, a golf game called "The Golf Club."

"The Golf Club" got released earlier this month for several platforms--Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC--but with one key new twist: a high-end course creation system that allows players to build their own courses out of nothing, replicating the greats or just building the course that a virtual duffer has dreamed of playing since first picking up a club. But what really separates this from others like it is that gamers will be able to pass around completed courses for others to play, regardless of the platform on which the game is played. PS4 users will be able to share with Xbox One and PC users, and every combination that follows will be able to share and share alike.

Some suggest that this came around thanks to an increased desire on the part of both system makers--both Sony and Microsoft--to accommodate indie game platforms. Both makers have been increasingly interested in drawing in the indie crowd so as to never suffer from the kind of game shortage that Nintendo struggled through--and to a certain extent still is--so recently. But with both sides more eager to accommodate the indie game maker, the result is some unusual new twists and some courageous new steps like this.

Are we seeing the start of a new future with more cross-platforming? Maybe. After all, if one gets it, it's not going to be hard for those other game makers that want in on the action to do exactly that. We've already discussed the idea of adding more modding tools to this generation's console gaming, and there's little doubt that we're getting that thanks to games like "The Golf Club." With the PS4 and the Xbox One comparatively similar in nature, we might well be to a point where the games start to look similar, and the whole "exclusives" thing might die along with it. Might we get to a point where there is one game platform? Maybe. Only time will tell, of course, but we could be looking at the start of a very strange set of developments...developments that mean mostly good news for the gamers.



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