This last weekend brought on another chance for people to experience Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Previously, only PlayStation 4 owners could partake in the name-calling and constant anxiety of checking your match K/D. This marked the first time that crossplay was enabled between PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 owners. And, to be honest, it worked out better than I thought it would.
Breaking down barriers
I’ll be the first to admit that I had abstained from the Call of Duty franchise for a number of years, somewhere probably around a decade. I had grown tired of a new ‘Duty each year and wanted something more from the franchise. As it turns out, that brief time away from a year-after-year release actually brought me back into the fold with Call of Duty: WWII on Xbox One. This also led me to give Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 on PC a go for a short stint. Now that cross-platform play was going to be a part of the new Call of Duty, it made me wonder why a feature like this wasn’t available before, especially considering Black Ops was now part of the PC family and available in the Battle.net launcher.
Crossplay in action
Leading into the open beta weekend, there was a lengthy blog post discussing the requirements for PC and console crossplay. For one, you needed to make a Call of Duty or COD profile. Then, when jumping into the beta, you needed to opt-out of the actual cross-play feature if you didn’t want to share lobbies with those console plebs. I had apparently made a COD login at some point and didn’t even realize it, as my information was auto-filled. Probably for a giveaway or something (don’t judge me).
I was actually surprised to find a lot of options available in the PC beta. From the looks of it, all graphics settings were available, among other things, like input device preference and cross-platform play.
When it came time to be placed into lobbies, there were a number of times that I was the only PC player with PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners. This was also the quickest matchmaking I’d seen in a long time. I didn’t even have time to tinker in the Gunsmith area before being loaded into a match. During the short wait in the lobby, each player had a small icon indicating the platform they were playing on and their input device. This was done due to how mouse and keyboard inputs were supported for the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare beta on console. We recently saw a push for this with the Gears 5 release, even having Razer creating custom designs for the Razer Turret, an Xbox One keyboard/mouse combo accessory.
Hopefully, this is the future
If I’m being honest, I really didn’t mind all too much playing with teammates on console. As a console player throughout my gaming career, I am well aware of the restrictions and tunnel vision that comes with solely playing on one machine. In recent years, I’ve grown more platform-agnostic simply due to the opportunities to review games released in more than one digital store. However, I’m glad that more franchises like Rocket League and Fortnite have provided the ability to play with friends even if we don’t own the game on the same console. Not only that, cross-platform chat via Epic login was a huge plus. Even recently I had a friend buy Borderlands 3 on PlayStation 4 while I was definitely wanting to play on PC. This only left a missed opportunity for us to catch up, kick back, and just play together. Sorry, Matt.
It would be great to see more franchises and companies realize that people will still buy video games on the platform of their choice, especially in instances where there are large team battles happening and you want to play with all of your friends. If there are options and parameters set up for people to get the best out of their experience while still playing together, then why not let them do so?
Walking away from the Modern Warfare cross-platform open beta this weekend, I felt that want to play a Call of Duty again. This time, there would be no restrictions or barriers to play with others, no isolating them to Sony or Microsoft boxes.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare launches on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on Oct 25.