Is Elder Scrolls Online Cross Platform?
Is Elder Scrolls Online Cross Platform?
Cross-platform play has been a really important and desired feature basically since the beginning of online gaming. Even the most passionate PC master race zealots wouldn’t mind sharing the playground with their console-loving friends. Either to have fun playing together or to kick their butts and show them who’s better. That being said, establishing a functional cross-play system is still a huge challenge to the developers. In order to do so, they would have to overcome many hurdles – and not all of them are strictly technical.
Unfortunately Bethesda and ZeniMax Online haven’t managed to win this battle as of yet in their hit MMORPG. Even though Elder Scrolls Online is available on PC and the most popular consoles, it doesn’t support the cross platform play. Instead, there are separate servers for PC, PS4 and Xbox One players. So if you wanted to journey through Tamriel with a friend who’s playing on another platform, we have bad news for you.
Since the release of 8th generation consoles back in 2013, Bethesda has been pretty vocal about the difficulties of cross-play. When these platforms had been announced, Elder Scrolls Online was already deep in development. Adjusting it for consoles would be a huge challenge and the creators decided to focus solely on the PC and Mac version. The Xbox One and PS4 ports have been released over a year after the PC premiere - each version with its own servers.
In 2013, the vice president of Bethesda – Pete Hines referred to all the challenges referred to all the technological and logistical challenges of cross-play with the words: The whole cross platform thing is just a nightmare. A lot has changed since then, but Bethesda seems to stand by these words. Their 2018 release, Fallout 76 doesn’t feature a cross-play system as well. Things are not looking good for players who are waiting for ESO cross platform in the future.
ESO – a great first MMO
You shouldn’t let the lack of cross-play discourage you from trying out this great MMORPG. Granted, it had a rocky start when it launched in 2014, but the developers quickly turned it around with two major updates. Tamriel: Unlimited released in 2015 made the game free-to-play with an optional ESO Plus subscription and the 2016’s One Tamriel introduced a lot of changes to the game’s mechanics and character progression. Since then, ESO has become a massive success and established itself as one of the top titles in this amazing genre.
One of the biggest strengths of Elder Scrolls Online is its ability to provide engaging content for all groups of gamers. Hardcore fans of the Elder Scrolls franchise get another opportunity to explore the vast continent of Tamriel and play through the captivating storylines. There’s a decent amount of emphasis on role-playing and interacting with NPCs through multiple dialogue options and in-game decisions. If you want, you can actually treat ESO like a single-player RPG. There’s no need to group up with another player in order to finish the story. You can also do it with some friends and go through the whole thing together!
On the other hand, there are tons of great activities for people who are into the traditional MMORPG gameplay. There are multiple types of dungeons as well as more challenging content like Arenas (designed for solo players or small groups of four) and Trials (ESO equivalent of raids, designed for large parties of 12 players). All the instances can be completed either on normal or the Veteran mode. The latter is significantly more difficult, but it yields higher chances of the most valuable loot. The competitive PvP players can visit the unique zone of Cyrodiil that allows for open-world PvP in the Alliance War. They can also test their skills in Battlegrounds.
The story of Tamriel continues, as developers produce new content that’s being released in subsequent Chapters (available to every player) and DLCs included in the ESO Plus membership, other players have to buy them in the Crown Store. They introduce new items, maps, instances, and storylines. There’s always more stuff to explore in Elder Scrolls Online.
|Elder Scrolls Online is a great MMORPG. Get yourself a supply of safe ESO Gold and enjoy the game even more!|
Why exactly is cross-play so difficult?
That’s a question that many gamers ask when they hear about another title that doesn’t have this feature. After all, it doesn’t seem that difficult at first glance. Even if the consoles have weaker specs than the top-end PCs, it shouldn’t be impossible. People play many online games on old and slow PCs and it doesn’t seem to be as much of a problem. The console ports could have less detailed graphics and lower resolution. Some players might see it as a small disadvantage, but it’s surely better than the total lack of cross-platform play, right?
Sadly, matters are a bit more complicated than that. As we already mentioned, the developers have to address a ton of different issues when approaching this problem.
Certain genres are extremely problematic, because of the differences in controlling your characters. Shooters are a great example of that. PC players that use mouse and keyboard have an innate advantage over someone who plays with a controller. That’s why the console ports of many shooters feature some kinds of aim assist systems. This creates a huge balancing issue without an easy fix.
Another problem is associated with patching. Many game developers decide on really frequent patches in order to keep their titles interesting and the players engaged. A lot of games receive a new patch every two weeks or even more often. Keeping up with such pace is much more difficult for consoles, especially if we’re talking about synchronized updates on every platform. The updates for console versions require more testing and an extensive certification process. It has to do with the differences between how the platforms and their game markets operate. The PC gaming market isn’t really dependent on a single company. The console games are different since the respective manufacturers have strong control over the market.
However, the technological argument seems questionable if you put it into perspective. Final Fantasy XI had this feature all the way back in 2002! This long time ago, it was possible for PC and PlayStation 2 gamers to play together. It’s hard to believe that technology regressed over the last 18 years. Of course, FFXI didn’t have all the challenges that we discussed earlier. It wasn’t patched nearly as frequently as modern games. Furthermore, the overall gameplay was relatively slow which made the differences between the PS4 controller and mouse and keyboard negligible.
Finally, there’s the economic argument. Even if the game developers are willing and able to create a fully functional cross-play system, the project can be blocked by one of the console companies. There are multiple interesting examples of these situations. For instance, PC Rocket League players can interact with all platforms: PC, Xbox One and PS4, but the console gamers used to only be able to play with their own console users and the PC players. There has been no link between Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Psyonix announced that they have the whole cross-play system ready and eventually, Sony capitulated and allowed for the full cross-play.
Since then, multiple online games started to allow for cross-play between Xbox and PS4. The list includes Fortnite, Black Desert Online, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Minecraft, Smite, and more! Besides, there still are plenty of games that have cross-play between PC and one of the consoles. Probably the most popular example inside the MMORPG genre would be Final Fantasy XIV that’s available on Windows and PS4.
Why aren’t there more cross platform games?
It’s partially caused by the technological differences between the platforms, but a lot comes down to the publishers and console manufacturers blocking this feature for certain games.
Can I transfer my ESO account from console to PC?
Unfortunately, there’s no way to transfer an Elder Scrolls Online between platforms. It was only possible once – during the launch of console ports in 2015.
Will ESO have cross-play in the future?
There have been no announcements of these plans as of yet. Bethesda says that cross-platform play is not on their roadmap for Elder Scrolls Online. They might change their mind in the future – you never know. However, we wouldn’t count on cross-play in ESO anytime soon.