In a blog post today, Ubisoft (Assassins Creed, Watch Dogs) announced that it will be bringing cross-platform multiplayer functionality to its growing list of virtual reality games.
Last week I wrote a story asking does VR gaming have a multiplayer problem? One of the examples I used in that story was Eagle Flight [Review: 7.5/10] from Ubisoft. Eagle Flight offers a multiplayer, 3-on-3 online gameplay mode. When playing on the Oculus Rift I have a very hard time finding enough other users to fill out a full game. However, Eagle Flight is also available on PlayStation VR, and Ubisoft’s sudden pivot towards cross platform gaming may be an attempt to combine user bases and create a more stable multiplayer experience for players. It’s a move that had wonderful results for EVE: Valkyrie [Review: 9/10], a multiplayer space dogfighting game available for Rift, PS VR, and Vive — all with cross-platform multiplayer.
“Making our VR titles cross-platform has been a goal of ours from the start and we’re happy to announce that Eagle Flight, Werewolves Within, and Star Trek: Bridge Crew will be playable cross-platform on PSVR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive,” David Votypka, senior creative director at Red Storm (the Ubisoft studio making Star Trek: Bridge Crew) said via today’s blog post. “Our games feature strong multiplayer experiences, so letting friends play together regardless of which headset they own will enhance the social nature of our games and let them be played the way we envisioned.”
There are three factors that could be driving this decision. 1) there aren’t enough players on any one headset to support multiplayer gameplay, 2) letting customers know they will be able to play Ubisoft games with all of their VR-capable friends could help drive sales for these games, and 3) cross-play is simply a more open, enjoyable experience for players.
In the end, a combination of these reasons is likely pushing Ubisoft to make their VR games cross-play.