Making crossplay more accessible
There’s nothing more annoying than going to play a game with a friend, only to realize that you can’t play together because you own the game on different platforms — it’s a struggle we’ve all had to deal with at one point or another. Thanks to Epic’s new free release of PC crossplay tools for developers, though, we’re one step closer to eliminating the blues that come with platform-exclusive play.
According to a blog post on the Epic Online Services website, they’re delivering “a single set of services for game development on any engine, any store, and any platform” that are “proven to scale in some of the largest games.”
These tools allow for a ton of features on the Epic Games Store, like being about to merge friends lists between Steam and the Epic Store, sending game invites across stores, account linking, self-updating crossplay improvements when games are installed, and a plug-and-play SDK, which basically means that developers can pick and choose which tools they want to implement with their games, and leave everything else.
Senior Director of Online Services at Epic Games Simon Allaeys shared his thoughts on the new feature in a press release:
“Crossplay gives all friends the opportunity to come together and create fond memories across interactive experiences. We are in the fortunate position to drive change in the industry with crossplay tools for all developers and we believe that connecting friends and communities will take the gaming industry to its next major growth spurt and its next billion players.”
While these new tools are debuting on PC with Steam, Epic has plans to expand them to other PC game stores, as well as macOS and Linux, and eventually crossplay with consoles and mobile platforms further down the line. Developers can get started on implementing crossplay into their games by going to Epic’s developer portal and downloading the Epic Online Services SDK 1.15.
Even with the solid lineup of free games that the Epic Games Store releases every month, it still struggled to encroach on Steam’s territory. Maybe this is Epic rolling over, but I prefer the more optimistic take that this is just a sign that the kids are finally playing nice.