Sony announced a bombshell today that could have huge ripple effects in the sports gaming landscape. For the first time in the Playstation landscape, you’ll be able to play with other consoles (Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC and Mac).
While the only game announced has been Fortnite, the implications here are massive. I am going to focus on sports games here, but the thought of being able to run Minecraft realms on my Nintendo Switch while my daughter uses her ipad and my friend uses his PS4 is incredible.
What this could mean for sports gamers:
You’re not here because of Fortnite. You’re here because you love sports games and while Fortniteis a lot of fun, it isn’t a sports game. I’ve talked about potential implications of Sony finally opening up the Playstation 4 for cross-platform play. The first one is easy:
1. Playing with/against your friends online.
You have NHL 19 on PS4 while your buddy has NHL 19 on Xbox One and you’ve always been upset you can’t play one another. Sony allowing the PS4 to play on different platforms should now erase this issue.
Games like Madden 19 aren’t currently cross-platform because EA runs their PC servers through Origin and not Microsoft, but that could also change. Vice President of Investor Relations Christopher Evenden stated in an investor call in July that “The ability to bring PC to mobile or mobile to console can bring family and friends together, and we think that’s an important part of our future development profile. Expect more from us on that front in the future.”
It seems EA wants cross-platform play and they were already looking into that before Sony knocked the wall down between Playstation and their competitors.
2. Playing competitive modes against other users
Opening up cross-platform play also means your HUTs and FUTs and MUTs are going to be incredibly populated. EA no longer has to divide their servers between each console and PC (though my uneducated guess is that PC will continue to work through Origin servers) and just allow for two types of servers. This should also give players an incredible amount of choice when logging in to play competitively.
FIFA may benefit the best from this change since it is the only EA sports game on three consoles (PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch). NBA 2K could be some benefits from this as well since their game is currently on all three platforms too.
3. Pooled populations mean broader communities
Allowing this should also increase Ultimate Team market activity in consoles that may have a dwindling userbase. FIFA 19 on the Switch won’t outsell its counterpart on the PS4 or Xbox One and because of that, the FUT marketplace may not be as active as it is on the other consoles.
If FIFA 19 servers are straight FIFA 19 servers and not FIFA 19 Server PS4 and FIFA 19 Server Xbox One, etc., it means more players trading and buying cards. This could potentially lead to more revenue sources for EA as a dying Nintendo Switch marketplace doesn’t benefit anyone, but a Nintendo Switch user in a Playstation 4 and Xbox One marketplace could continue transactions like normal.
It’s also a really good PR move for the company. When gamers are united and not locked into petty squabbles over which version of their game is the best, it allows feedback to come back more focused. Do broader communities have their negatives? Of course, but the positives should outweigh whatever negatives could crop up.
Ultimately, cross-platform play in sports games is a good thing. With couch co-op becoming an increasingly dying art, being able to link up with your buddy to bang out a game of NHL or Madden is a wonderful thing. Being able to do it while he has an Xbox One and you have a Playstation 4 is even better.
Now if only I can get NHL 19 on the Nintendo Switch…
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