Fortnite – Our Opinion on the Effects of Cross Platform Battle Royale
Epic Games, continually changing the gaming industry in the past few months, has made yet another major move in the field of video games. With the announcement of their Mobile Battle Royale arriving for iOS users, they also released information on the cross platform play that will be available within the game. As we already new, PC and PS4 have been able to play with one another for some time. There was even a special skin for those who connected their PS4 accounts, displaying their console pride within the Battle Royale.
Soon after, Xbox One was able to connect and play with PC players. While they haven’t received a skin to show off their choice of console, they are able to join PC lobbies and parties to further expand their gameplay with friends and other members of the gaming community. Epic Games even announced that Mobile users would be able to connect to PC players if they wished, meaning that both major consoles, and mobile, have strings linking them to PC.
Now, there is a small blockade in full cross platform availability (which I, and many others have been dreaming of since the implementation of separate but equal consoles). This wall lies smack dab in between Sony and Microsoft. Surprisingly (or not), Sony is seemingly the suborn one on the surface of the issue. The Japanese company seems to be declining the offers by Microsoft to implement cross-platform play within Fortnite Battle Royale, leaving the console players on either platform stranded from one another, each only being linked up with PC.
Meta and Gameplay Changes
While it may seem like a change in who can play together won’t effect the internal workings of the game all that much, the deeper dynamics of gameplay seem to lead to changes in how players pursue their Victory Royales. The first major factor, is differences in skill level. While in relation to overall skill at the game, there is only an individual difference, there is a major difference in accuracy and speed of controls. That is to say that players on console/mobile are no worse at the game, they are just not going to be quite as fast, accurate, or adapted to the PC style of play.
Console players tend to use slightly slower styles of gameplay, and rely more on AR’s than any other weapon type. After playing on my friend’s iPhone, it feels like shotguns dominate there, and on PC all weapon types are prevalent but snipers seem increasingly common. Console and mobile players would have to adapt to new styles of play when joining PC-based lobbies, and could be at a slight disadvantage due to these differences.
On top of this, console aim assist may lead players to having an advantage when it comes to mid-range encounters. Console Joysticks are typically not able to compete with the accuracy of a mouse, but the aim assist helps balance that out to some degree. At mid range encounters, console players may feel like they land their shots more often than not, and it could mean that the meta will adjust to encompass these new players.
While Mobile playing vs other devices is completely new and unexplored territory, I see those players having similar advantages/disadvantages as console players in respect to PC players. As users grow more accustomed to the various styles of play and skill levels of each person, the meta will settle into a place of comfort.
Effects on the Industry
Seeing as this is the first major title to allow cross platform between PC, Console, and Mobile, Fortnite Battle Royale has the opportunity to change the gaming industry forever. Many players have been wishing for this to occur for quite some time, wanting to play with their friends no matter the console they purchased, but it seemed like that would never happen. While there have been slowly more and more games entering this new realm of play, Fortnite is really on the forefront of pushing the boundaries. It’s one of the biggest games right now, and continues to garner more and more attention with each passing moment, which in turn increases the weight the name carries to corporations such as Sony and Microsoft. We hope that Fortnite Battle Royale influences other major developers and leads to a world where there are no walls (besides console exclusives of course) between friends who want to play with one another.
What do you think about cross-platform play within Fortnite? Do you think it’s fair or unfair for one side? Do you think the meta will change with these new players entering PC lobbies? How do you feel it will effect the gaming industry as a whole?