MHW crossplay feels more likely than ever, thanks to the release of Iceborne (the game’s first and only paid expansion) on PC. Finally, all players are able to enjoy features like the Guiding Lands and new monsters! It doesn’t end there, though. Capcom is supporting the hell out of MHW throughout 2020 (and very likely beyond). But does that include MHW crossplay? What about cross save, or cross platform purchases? Let’s take a look in our in-depth guide to crossplay in Monster Hunter World!
Does MHW Have Crossplay Support?
There’s good news and bad news for those wondering about MHW crossplay. The bad news is that, for the time being at least, there is no way to play with your friends cross platform. In fact, there has been no announcement regarding such a feature whatsoever. Given how long in the tooth the game is at this point, we have to assume that we’re not getting it this time around. This is a bit of a bummer, given that Capcom has managed crossplay before (at least between PS4 and PC) — in the form of Street Fighter 5 multiplayer. That just didn’t translate to its much more successful current generation outing. There’s always hope for Monster Hunter World 2, though!
There’s also one silver lining in all this. Years after its initial launch, MHW will at least sync up its content release schedule between PS4, Xbox One, and PC players. That means, when Iceborne Title Update 3 lands sometime in May 2020, PC players will no longer be out of step with their console kin. New monsters, event quests, areas, gear, and more will all drop day-and-date with the Xbox One and PS4 versions. That’s good timing, since Title Update 3 will also bring at least two new “variant monsters” to MHW.
Syncing up all versions of the game could potentially open the door to something like cross save… but it also seems unlikely. As we mentioned, the game is pretty old at this point. Not to mention there is PlayStation exclusive content (often themed around Sony franchises like Horizon: Zero Dawn) that the publisher may frown on allowing to cross console boundaries. That seems like more trouble than it’s worth at this point, but we’ll keep you updated if there is any new information.
Monster Hunter World and Iceborne are currently available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
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 14).
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…