Crossplay for more casual games like Minecraft is great all, but what happens when we get to more competitive games? Apex Legends adopting crossplay may do more harm than good – and here’s why.
PC players have an inherent advantage
Let’s get it out of the way: yes, PC gamers have an inherent advantage against console players. The mouse is mightier than the joystick; well, not actually – but it is more precise. The keyboard allows for more versatility with a wider range of commands available across more keys. Controller players do have the opportunity to use aim-assist – but in my experience, it does more harm than good.
In a competitive scenario this just doesn’t fly for a lot of people that take their games seriously. There’s nothing worse than getting into a match and getting s**t on repeatedly by someone eons faster than you are. This is not to say that you’re bad… although that could be the case, I don’t judge. It’s just to say that if you play Warzone on console against sweaty PC players, well
Console vs console is fine, console vs PC though…
The great thing about crossplay is that you can play with your friends on console. In all honesty I think this is the main intention when it comes to crossplay. When Apex Legends crossplay comes out, we’ll be able to play with anyone, anywhere.
If you want to play with your friends, you’ll have to deal with the aforementioned control disparity between platforms. Of course, in a casual setting this isn’t a problem. Playing Apex Legends on console and having to deal with a PC Predator squad however, that’s bound to grind anyone’s gears.
Having PS4 and Xbox players square off against each other is totally fine, neither has an inherent advantage over the other, and Switch players – while they may face issues we’ll talk about later – should be fine as well.
Skill based matchmaking will play a big role
I’m not a big fan of skill based matchmaking, or SBMM as it’s commonly referred to as. This isn’t because I love playing against Predator-tier opponents as a Silver-tier player. I’m not a masochist. My gripe with it is that it often doesn’t seem to work. If you’re telling me that dropping into the Outlands against a bunch of diamond and predator squads is fair, then I’ll need you to explain how the hell that works.
Console players will have a hard time as it is facing off against PC players. Pitting them against the best of the best in that scenario is a death sentence, and will work against their enjoyment of the game. I’m sure there’s a way to deal with this behind the scenes, but trying to compare skill levels with different control schemes is likely a difficult task – and it will take some time to truly have SBMM kick in.
There are a lot of variables that go into SBMM, but nobody knows exactly what they are. Ideally you’ll actually play with/against players with similar skill levels – but that’s seemingly not the case at the moment. I can’t say for sure if it’s something that is fixable in any real sense. But if it can be adjusted, then it should be.
The power of your system plays a part too
The disadvantages aren’t just limited to control schemes either. A popular post on the Fortnite subreddit shows the difference between PC and console when it comes to the performance of the game itself.
There is no telling at the moment how the Nintendo Switch will run Apex, in all honesty it should be fine. Buuuut if it ends up being anything like Skyrim for the Switch, you may be hearing from the Switch community in the near future.
The right way to go here for Respawn would be to restrict crossplay to only between consoles. As much as I hate to say it, I don’t feel PC players should have a say in this situation. Forcing players into a potential disadvantage will anger them, as we’ve already seen.
At the very least, make it so cross-platform isn’t possible in a ranked setting. Normal matches and event modes should be fine, as a lot of players have a more laissez-faire attitude towards those. Ranked is where things get really sweaty – and honestly I don’t know who would willingly play ranked cross-platform, but I know some people will.
Crossplay could really go either way for Apex Legends. Assuming it’s done properly, and the proper safeguards are put in place, this could shoot the game farther than it’s gone before. If implemented poorly, this may end up proving to be a massive blunder for Respawn.
Time will tell, and you can be sure that I’ll be here to complain if it fails.