PlayStation’s new Discord integration is a key step for cross-play dream

Enlarge / Cross-platform voice chat has arrived on PlayStation 5.

Samuel Axon

This week, Sony rolled out Discord voice chat support to PlayStation 5 consoles, marking the first time an OS-wide third-party game voice calling option has been available on Sony consoles.

Previously, PlayStation 5 users could show what game they were currently playing on their Discord profiles, but couldn’t communicate with other players without using their phones, tablets, or computers.

The launch follows a similar one on Microsoft’s Xbox consoles last fall. Discord voice calls have long been available on PC, Mac, iOS, and Android. The only major gaming platform outlier is Nintendo’s Switch.

With support for PC, Xbox, and PlayStation, Discord is poised to be the go-to voice-over-IP service for multiplayer cross-platform games, which have begun to progress toward ubiquity for the first time in recent years. .

That’s great for Discord as a platform and company, of course, and it would be great to see competing services follow so Discord doesn’t have a monopoly on this kind of functionality.

That said, though, even having a single service achieve this is a boon to crossplay advocates and a sign that the landscape for multiplayer gaming is very different from the previous generation of consoles.

Crossplay Dream

Online gaming players have been asking for the ability to play with their friends on different platforms for at least two decades, but it has been a long and difficult road to get to the point where the dream is close to reality.

There have been some outliers over the years, of course. The Sega Dreamcast, which launched way back in 1998, made a couple of attempts at cross-play, with game developers working with Microsoft to connect the Dreamcast and Windows PC players in games like Earthquake 3 Arena and fantasy star online.

Not much later, final fantasy XI made headlines in 2002 by offering cross-play between PlayStation 2 and PC players.

Valve president Gabe Newell attended Sony’s famous E3 press conference to announce that gate 2 it would come to the PlayStation 3 and that it would have cross-play with PC. this is how i played gate 2cooperative mode; I played on PS3 with a friend who was playing on Steam on his gaming PC.

And Microsoft has spent many years gradually expanding cross-play options between Xbox consoles and Windows PCs in games like Minecraft or the Forza franchise.

But until very recently, cross-play between console platforms was virtually non-existent. Whichever console platform was the top seller in a given generation had a strong disincentive to support it. If Sony allowed PlayStation 4 gamers to play with their friends on Xbox One, it reduced some of the snowball effect of one console’s market dominance, as there was less of a social drive to buy a PS4 over an Xbox One. The same was true of Microsoft’s dominant Xbox 360 (at least initially) and the underperforming PS3.

To break this, it finally took a game so big, so popular, so ridiculously zeitgeist—and one that even in its super-dominant position of recent years, Sony had no choice but to accept: Epic Games’ Fortnite. The game’s popularity combined with Epic boss Tim Sweeney’s controversial and outspoken activism, and Microsoft’s calculated efforts to undermine Sony’s position with consumer-oriented messaging and policies, prompted Sony to change its tune.

However, to be clear, not everything was settled for developers and players at the time; it was later revealed that Epic had to pay Sony to offer cross-play in Fortnite to offset Sony’s related losses.

Fortnite It wasn’t the first and only cross-play title, but it opened the floodgates like never before. While Sony didn’t provide all developers with easy-to-use tools and APIs to facilitate cross-play, it did start to play nice with a growing list of developers who had the power to insist, notably including Activision with Obligations.

Now more games than ever before, big and small, make cross-play possible, even between PlayStation and Xbox. It’s still not the most new games, but the trend is going in that direction.

Tech – Ars Technica

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James D. Brown
James D. Brown
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