With the recent news that Smite is coming to Switch next year, developer/publisher Hi-Rez Studios is doubling down on letting players play their games anywhere by announcing cross-platform play and progression is coming to Paladins, Realm Royale, and Smite.
Realm Royale, which has yet to fully release, will have it from the outset. Meanwhile, Paladins and Smite will receive an update enabling the feature in “mid-to-late” January. When this happens, there will be a 24-hour downtime, but after that, voice chat, leaderboards, and gameplay will be supported on Xbox One, Switch, PC, and Mac. “We are technically ready to support cross-play on other platforms as the opportunity arises,” the company states on its FAQ for the feature, hinting that while Sony announced crossplay for some titles, Hi-Rez has not yet able to implement it for the PS4 version.
As for how players will be matched: “By default, casual matchmaking will find the best matches for players regardless of platform or input method,” the company says on its FAQ for the feature. “Smite and Paladins ranked matchmaking will be divided strictly by input method. Players will only ever play against other players using the same input method in ranked. Realm Royale players will always be placed in cross-platform matchmaking.”
Players can also link up their platform accounts to their Hi-Rez account and have their progress synced across consoles. Platform-specific skins won’t be available outside those platforms, however, and some costumes may only be available on the platform on which they were purchased. And if you already have multiple accounts with different progress and skins? “When cross-progression is enabled, we will merge your owned content across platform accounts linked with your Hi-Rez Account, in accordance with platform provider policies,” the company says, though no refunds will be given for duplicate skin purchases.
[Source: Hi-Rez Studios]
It may not be realistic (every game has its own specific tech issues and hang-ups), but this is exactly how every modern multiplayer game should handle being on multiple consoles. I own three copies of Overwatch on separate platforms and have leveled a total of five Destiny 2 characters across PS4 and PC, and I can only dream of merging all of that loot I’ve collected under one account I can play wherever I want. As Sony continues to chip away at its crossplay wall, I can only hope multiplayer games adopt this level of platform cross-compatibility as the standard instead of the exception.