Over the past few years, we’ve seen Microsoft make major strides toward bringing its Xbox and PC gaming interests closer together. Today, one of the company’s biggest franchises will see the two audiences square off head-to-head in online multiplayer, as cross-play is coming to Gears of War 4.
We’ve known that Microsoft had big plans for cross-play in its flagship third-person shooter franchise for some time. Last year, a test weekend saw PC users take on console players shortly after the initial release of Gears of War 4, and it seems that the company was happy with the results.
“When we looked at the extensive data we received thanks to the incredible participation from our community, there was a clear message – it works,” read a blog post announcing the addition of cross-play posted to Xbox Wire earlier today. While 90 percent of players that took part in the test were using an Xbox One, their KDR and scores were said to be similar to those recorded by PC users when skill ratings were taken into account.
Core and Competitive playlists will remain unchanged on both Xbox One and PC. However, there’s an indication that a competitive cross-play playlist could be introduced in the future if there’s a positive response to the changes to Social Quickplay among the game’s community.
This change to Gears of War 4 demonstrates that Microsoft is very serious about promoting cross-play. PC gaming is arguably as popular as it ever has been, so the fact that the company is doing everything in its power to edge into this growing market makes a lot of sense.
When Microsoft announced the Xbox Play Anywhere initiative, the company was quick to confirm that not all releases that straddled PC and Xbox One would feature cross-play. However, the fact that the feature has now been added to Gears of War 4 might suggest that even if a game doesn’t feature cross-play at launch, it’s not outside the realm of possibility for it to be introduced a later date.
Gears of War 4 is available now for Xbox One and PC.