Earlier this week, Apex Legends developer Respawn Entertainment delighted fans by confirming that it is looking into enabling cross-play in the new battle royale game. However, it seems that Apex Legends may not be the only EA-published title that is considering adding cross-play.
During its latest financial briefing, EA CEO Andrew Wilson stressed again that the company is "looking into" cross-play for Apex Legends, but added that EA will be looking at cross-play "across our portfolio over time." Wilson specifically highlighted its FIFA soccer series as one game with a "tremendously large" community that could benefit from cross-play. The EA executive also suggested that the publisher would look at cross-progress, which would allow players to carry account information and currencies across all platforms.
Wilson didn't provide an exact date for either the Apex Legends cross-play update or when cross-play could come to other games. For full cross-play across all platforms, developers will need to get approved by Sony which can be an arduous process, according to some upset studios. However, the EA executive stated that it is "going to be a very important part of our future" and that fans should "anticipate that we'll be doing more in that space."
The players themselves benefit massively from cross-play. They get to play alongside their friends and don't have to worry about platforms keeping them apart. Cross-progress also covers them if they move to a different platform, or if they already own multiple platforms and don't feel like switching between them for the sake of a few multi-platform games.
Publishers like EA also benefit from cross-play and cross-progress, even though Wilson admitted that "there isn't a tremendous amount of play across devices" and that just a "small portion" of gamers use the feature. EA sees "overall liquidity in any gaming community" as a good thing.
By allowing cross-play, it keeps players enjoying games and series' for longer as they won't have to abandon them because they've gotten a new console and don't feel like playing a game again. Moreover, players may be more likely to buy a game if they know that they can play it with their friends, without having to buy a new console as well. There's also the suggestion that players may spend more on microtransactions in EA games, including cosmetic skins and unlocks, if they know that their purchases will carry over.