Black Desert crossplay should be a total win-win for all players! Any online game benefits from having more people to interact with in a variety of ways. Right? Well, it turns out that it might depend on the situation some of those players find themselves in… We’ve got the scoop on the state of crossplay in Black Desert and which — if any — platforms can play together in the stunning MMORPG. Still need to decide which system you should play on? Then look no further!
Does Black Desert Online Have Crossplay Support?
This is a bit of a weird one — at least for now. Cross platform play is, typically, more common between PC and specific consoles than it is between those consoles themselves. In the case of Black Desert, crossplay support is actually starting with Xbox One and PlayStation 4 users. Starting on March 4, 2020, BDO crossplay will open up between Sony and Microsoft’s platform.
That’s odd for obvious reasons. PC is a much more open platform than either Xbox or PlayStation, since it’s not beholden to hardware manufacturers, and has long been neutral territory for game companies. But that’s not all. Not all versions of Black Desert are up to date in terms of content updates (similar to games like Warframe and Monster Hunter World at launch). In this case, it’s the PlayStation 4 version that lags behind its brethren. That means players who simply don’t have access to the same content will nonetheless be able to interact with each other — including engaging in PVP battles.
The developer, Pearl Abyss, hasn’t completely addressed this issue as of yet. But one would hope that something is in the works to create more parity between the interacting player bases. In the meantime, a few PlayStation players aren’t terribly happy with the arrangement, despite crossplay otherwise being an almost universally good thing.
Black Desert is currently available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and mobile devices.
The State of Crossplay and Cross Platform Support
Crossplay support only gets more popular with time! Odds are that it will be the norm before too long. Until then, though, the vast majority of cross platform multiplayer games don’t fully include it. When they do, it’s often restricted to players on one console playing with those on PC. Microsoft and Sony seem to view the PC as neutral ground.
Microsoft in particular has extra incentive in the form of its “play anywhere policy.” Typically, if you buy a digital copy of a Microsoft first-party exclusive, you get to own it both on Xbox and PC — free of additional charge. At that point there’s really no reason not to let folks play together. Throw in services like Xbox Game Pass (which is now on PC) and things get even easier.
Sony has historically taken pretty much the opposite approach. The company is far and away the sales leader on this generation of consoles. That incentivizes it not to play well with others — or allow its partner studios to do so on its hardware. In addition, Sony first-party exclusives basically never come out on PC. It’s PlayStation or nothing. Although there are a number of third-party games only available on PlayStation and PC that do feature crossplay (e.g. Final Fantasy XIV).
Even so, Sony has announced its crossplay solution has exited “beta” and should be freely available to all. There are also rumors that PS4 exclusives like Horizon: Zero Dawn are on their way to PC, lifting even more walls that have traditionally kept the manufacturer separated from its peers.
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Fortnite managed to push the envelope a bit by virtue of being one of the biggest games on the planet. Developer Epic Games also pushed the issue when it “accidentally” turned on Fortnite crossplay for a short time — thereby proving it wasn’t a technical limitation. That sparked a conversation around crossplay games over the entire industry. But while Sony has said it is “open for business” when it comes to cross platform play, many developers say otherwise (both publicly and privately).
Speaking of some of the biggest games in the world, Minecraft is another strange case. Microsoft purchased the franchise from fictional character Hatsune Miku in 2014. But Minecraft, of course, was already on every platform under the sun. That included Sony and Nintendo hardware. Microsoft and Nintendo have seemingly played nice ever since.
The “technical limitation” argument does hold some water, however. Many current and even upcoming games were built with the assumption that crossplay would not be an option. Some studios have the resources, time, and/or singular focus to get around that. Others do not. With the present state of crossplay, however, it’s very difficult to imagine it not becoming the norm at a technical and policy level. If we get to the next generation of console hardware without crossplay being the norm, then you know we have a problem…