With the reveal of EA Sports NHL 23, it was confirmed that cross-platform multiplayer will be making its debut in the series. And while its certainly exciting to have the chance to play against players on other same-gen platforms, it doesn’t mean it comes without limitations.
In fact, there are quite a few of them.
NHL 23 cross-platform, which is coming in a post-launch update in November, will only allow players from same-gen consoles — Xbox Series X|S/PlayStation 5 & Xbox One/PlayStation 4 — to play against each other in matchmaking. It will also only be available in Hockey Ultimate Team (HUT) and the World of Chel. Where it isn’t is in general head-to-head online matchups. Those contests are still same console matchups only.
Also, there won’t be any sort of cross-console invitations for any of the online modes. That means Xbox and PlayStation players can’t be on the same team in EASHL. They’ll only be able to play against each other.
“While our goal was to have cross-console invites that allow for co-op play with players from the opposite console in NHL 23, that won’t be a part of this initial phase,” EA Sports says. “That’s why we’re striving to implement more crossplay features in future EA SPORTS NHL titles.”
Why the NHL 23 Cross-Platform Restrictions?
When looking at what NHL 23 cross-platform has to offer, it’s easy to get frustrated about the restrictions with it. Because of that, EA Sports does go into detail as to why certain decisions were made with what it calls phase one of the implementation.
They detailed the biggest obstacles on the game’s FAQ page:
One of the main obstacles to implementing crossplay is upgrading servers so they have capacity to handle 100% of the generation population since everyone will be playing from a single unified server rather than on separate servers per platform generation, as was the case in the past.
The other main obstacle is ensuring that the same code can execute on all consoles and always produce the same result across PlayStation® and Xbox platforms to avoid desynchronizations and “faceoff loops.” This is what makes online gameplay possible, so we’re prioritizing getting this right.
And the last big thing has been working through the technical challenges that come from Xbox and PlayStation users interacting online. This includes Voice Chat between the two platforms, how a user sees and experiences cross-platform elements and options within our screens, and how we set up leaderboards.
As far as when true cross-play will come with mixed squads and more, EA Sports is planning that for future installments of the NHL series.
“For the second phase, targeted for future titles, we aim to introduce mixed clubs and co-op play across platforms,” the company says. “Again, while we can’t 100% confirm when this feature will appear in-game, the team is prioritizing these functions in future iterations of the EA SPORTS NHL franchise.”
What do you think of NHL 23 cross-platform? Let us know in the comments below, and take the discussion further in the official SGO Discord server.