Fans of Fallout will no doubt already be familiar with Fallout 76, the online action RPG by Bethesda. Released back in 2018, there was hope that Fallout 76 cross-platform play would become available for players to compete against one another, regardless of what device they were playing on. But sadly, this proved not to be the case. Apparently, Sony was "Not as Helpful as Everyone Would Like".
But time has passed, and a lot can happen in four years. Did any of us, for example, expect Microsoft to spend $7.5 billion on the acquisition of Bethesda? So with that in mind, has anything changed as of 2022?
Cross-platform Vs Cross Play
There can be a little bit of confusion over this terminology. In some situations, cross-platform means that a game is available on more than one platform - think any game released on Xbox, PC and PlayStation, for example. But, it can also be used in the context of cross-platform play, or cross-play. This is when players can play with others, regardless of what platform they are using. Think Call of Duty: Warzone or Fortnite as prominent examples.
So in one sense, Fallout 76 is very much a cross-platform game, as it was released forXbox, PlayStation 4 and Windows at the same time. But, despite being available on all these different platforms, cross-platform play was not available at the time of release. Several years on, has anything changed?
Does Fallout 76 support Cross-Platform Play in 2022?
Fallout 76 is available to play on PC, Xbox and PlayStation. But can a PlayStation player link up with an Xbox gamer for true cross-platform gaming? Well...no.
As of 2022, Fallout 76 remains unavailable for cross-platform play. So PlayStation gamers can only play with other PlayStation players, and so on.
With one notable exception. Microsoft, as the owners of Bethesda's intellectual property, immediately made Fallout 76 available on Xbox Game Pass. Bethesdahas confirmed that if you are playing on a PC, then it doesn't matter if you are using Steam or Game Pass, you will still be able to play against all other PC users.
While this is a long way from true cross-platform play, there is a (small) possibility that further down the road, Xbox gamers and PC gamers will be able to cross-play against one another. Whether this will happen to older games remains unclear. But there is certainly the possibility of this for future titles.
It's less likely that cross-play will become available between Xbox and PlayStation owners. This is even more pronounced now that Microsoft owns Bethesda. Which, given the amount of money Microsoft spent, isn't necessarily a surprise. Microsoft won't be especially keen to play with other platforms, as they seek to lure more players onto their platform.
Commercially, this makes sense. But from the point of all the gamers out there, it's not the ideal scenario. Of course, we may be pleasantly surprised. But it's probably more likely that we'll find ourselves in a post-apocalyptic future.