It was only a few years ago that the thought of playing multiplayer games on your Xbox while your friends used Playstation was merely a fever dream. Fast forward a few years and crossplay is in every online-based game. It shows the amount of progress technology and gaming have achieved in the days since Pac-Man. Not needing to spend hundreds of dollars to play and chat with your friends on one console is a win-win for all sides. While we must praise our strides in the crossplay area, it seems the achievement doesn’t come without setbacks. And it seems Xbox players in particular are fed up with it.
Games like Call of Duty: Warzone, Battlefield 2042, and Halo Infinite amass over 100 million players daily. These games require players to be quick and learn to adapt while engaged in firefights. Competitive and very much entertaining, it’s no wonder people play them. To see your username sitting atop the leaderboard fills many with excitement and a feeling of accomplishment. I should know, I mowed down a few in my lifetime. But with everything that is competitive in nature, there are always going to be the ones who thrive off cheating the system. A once-popular request from the Xbox community now sees players looking to opt-out.
Xbox players are venting their frustration on Call of Duty and Halo subreddits, calling for the removal of PC players from their matchmaking. Because of the setup of PCs, it’s very easy installing a backdoor in hacking any game with a server. There has been an increase in PC players hacking into lobbies of multiplayer games. Many game studios are struggling to keep up with the influx of hackers. Warzone has implanted an anti-cheat system but many users say it does nothing. After hackers are banned from one account, they go on to create another account. It’s an endless cycle that many are tired of. It’s not just the players who feel this way about crossplay, Xbox’s man in charge has some strong emotions about it.
Phil Spencer, VP at Xbox, has been vocal about his feelings towards networks dealing with hackers. Spencer believes your banned list should follow you everywhere. Speaking with the New York Times in his latest interview, the topic of crossplay was brought to which Phil Spencer offered a good idea.
“Something I would love us to be able to do,” says Spencer, “this is a hard one as an industry—is when somebody gets banned in one of our networks, is there a way for us to ban them across other networks?”
“As a player,” says Spencer, “[what I’d like to see is] for me to be able to bring my banned user list because I can always block people from my play. And I’d love to be able to bring them to other networks where I play. So this is the group of people that I choose not to play with. Because I don’t want to have to recreate that in every platform that I play video games on.”
It’s a great idea that might be hard to actually pull off. Yes, in terms of an industry-level ban, it could work. Recently due to the rise of crossplay in games, many companies have decided to change how your gaming account connects within their networks. Bungie recently switched their Destiny 2 players from their gaming consoles to a cloud-based service under Bungie. So if you ever want to play Destiny 2 on your Xbox over your Playstation, you don’t have to create a new Playstation account. It automatically links your Xbox and Playstation account into an overall Bungie cloud account. Pretty convenient. It’s an aspect that could make Phil Spencer’s vision a reality. But, there comes the issue of getting these warring armies to come to the table and broker peace.
Common industry-wide terms and agreements would need to be issued. This is easier said than done. Many gaming studios have their own sets of rules and what each company deems as “wrong” could be very different from others. It took many years for studios and networks to even agree to something like crossplay. I doubt studios are itching to convene at the round table again to open up their rules and regulations anytime soon. For the time being, many studios and developers have implanted options to disable crossplay. An idea we, the gaming community, once deemed “perfection,” may very well have sealed our own fate.