The years of learning: Let’s kick this off with a little anecdote some of us might have forgotten already:
The “cross-platform” idea is not something completely new. Back in the days when Microsoft launched the original Xbox, they were testing ways to connect console players with game enthusiasts who preferred playing on PCs. The goal was to unite and connect all gamers who were playing a game regardless of the platform they were using.
The biggest issue Microsoft faced came to light in 2007 with the game "Shadowrun". PC players using a keyboard and mouse were owning console players in deathmatches due to the differences in the platforms and controls. Within a few days, Xbox players began dropping out of online matches in droves, which quickly ended up killing the number of online games.
The end result was that Microsoft killed the idea of cross-platform games (prematurely) and focused instead on separating players per platform – until today. The idea of developing the same game in an identical way for different platforms was also put on pause for a long time.
Six years later, attitudes amongst games developers are very different – at least if we look into the casual and social gaming world. Companies like GameDuell, which offers more than 70 games on different platforms, have plunged into the cross-platform arena after realizing it was the right way to match player interests.
But what does this all mean to us, the gamers?
When your friends tell you about their new favorite game which “you’ve just gotta try”, you no longer have to spend much time worrying about platform compatibility. Many of today’s new games are cross-platform and will run on almost any device you have in your pocket or at home.
Our best example at GameDuell: Fluffy Birds. If you can’t get enough of those cute little birds, then you’ll love the cross-platform nature of the game. When you’re on Windows or Mac, the application runs without any downloads or installations directly in your web browser.
When you’re away from your computer - on the way to work, waiting in line, avoiding commercials on TV - you can fire up the iOS or Android version and play the exact same game on an iPhone, iPod touch or similar Android devices.
Lunch break at work and you still can’t get enough for the fluffy birds? It’s a perfect time to log in to Facebook and play a bit when the boss isn’t looking.
Today’s games are also created so that PC players won’t have an advantage over other platforms by default. Games are now created so that they not only play the same, but have similar layout and design, making the entire game experience identical amongst all platforms.
Cross-platform game design enables people to easily play their favorite game on different platforms whenever and wherever they please. Apart from the screen size of the various devices, there isn’t much difference between the gaming experiences, allowing players to use the same game identity, track results across all platforms and much more.
In 20 years when we’re discussing this ever changing and fast paced industry, 2012 will be remembered as the year gaming experienced one of its greatest innovations in history.
The way players interact with their games and with their friends has completely changed; people have never been more engaged with games than today and it became possible to play 24/7/365, anywhere, anytime and with anyone, whether they are a friend or a complete stranger.
While every one else is just starting to talk about the importance of cross-platform play, GameDuell has already been at it for almost an entire year.
We have 50 games that are now cross platform across the web, Facebook, iOS and now Android, putting us a step ahead of almost everyone else. We are hopeful that we will be able to balance our games better now than in the early days of cross-platform games six years ago.
At GameDuell, we’re not just talking about cross-platform, we are cross-platform!