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  • Kyle Chua

EA Starts Online Multiplayer Cross-Play Between PS5, Xbox Series X and Stadia With FIFA 22

For the first time in the history of the longstanding series, the latest entry in EA Sports’ football simulation video game, FIFA 22, is allowing players from different consoles to compete with one another online.

Credit: EA Sports

The game is testing cross-play multiplayer between PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S and Stadia versions of the game. The test allows players to compete in Online Seasons and Online Friendlies with others on different platforms.

For now, cross-play is limited to these two modes to maintain a smooth experience for players, said EA Sports in a blog post.

“While we want to enable our players to play with as many friends and others as possible, we limited the test to these two modes with the aim of reducing the chance for introducing new issues into the game,” the developers added.

The cross-play feature will arrive via a software update for the game. Once players have downloaded and installed the update, they’ll see a new widget in the bottom right hand corner of the main menu. They can then follow the button prompts to enable or disable cross-play. Players can also open the widget to add their friends on other consoles by simply searching their EA usernames.

"Our Cross-play test does not have any direct impact on the gameplay of FIFA 22. You can think of this Cross-play test as just another part of the game," said EA Sports. "When you’re matchmaking in Online Seasons, FIFA 22 will consider players from other platforms as long as you’ve opted in."

The addition of the cross-play feature seems to suggest that EA Sports plans to implement it in full for FIFA 23, which is expected to come out later this year. While the feature hasn’t been officially confirmed for this year’s entry, there doesn’t appear to be any other reason as to why the developers might want to test the feature.

Cross-play is still relatively rare among today’s games. Sony’s PlayStation division was notably the most resistant to the idea, considering how it made more financial sense for it to wall off its players within its own ecosystem. See, the company believes that it's unfair when a game's player base is on its platform but in-game purchases are made on another. This means Sony won’t get a cut from these sales, reducing its potential revenue streams.

In 2018, Sony relented and started allowing some games to include cross-play. The company, however, charged publishers a royalty fee to have the feature in their games. This fee sort of serves as compensation for any losses to business that Sony might incur from its console competitors.

Fortnite. Credit: Epic Games

Developers and publishers also handle cross-play differently. There aren’t any definitive rules with what platforms are included and how the feature will work for, say, backward compatible games. So a lot of it can still be very confusing for players who just want to play with their friends who are on different platforms. Nonetheless, the list of games offering cross-play is growing as players continue to demand for the feature. Some of the more popular games include Call of Duty Warzone, Genshin Impact, Apex Legends and No Man’s Sky, to name a few.

  • FIFA 22 is testing cross-play online multiplayer between PS5, Xbox Series X|S and Stadia players of the game.

  • This is the first time the longstanding football simulation franchise will include the feature, suggesting that it could be implemented in full in the upcoming FIFA 23.

  • The feature will be available in the Online Seasons and Online Friendlies game modes.

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