One of the biggest driving factors behind the Console Wars was being able to play FIFA, Madden, or anything else with your friends.
Thanks to cross-platform play those walls are beginning to break down, but EA is still lagging behind. That needs to change.
Crossplay is key to growing games
One of the reasons behind the rapid growth in games like Fortnite and even the return to prominence of Call of Duty is crossplay.
As early adoptors, Fortnite quickly became the go-to place for gamers to hangout.
SOCIAL HUB: Fortnite has become so much more than a game for millions
Warzone has been key to bringing back Call of Duty players that skipped a few games. Its enormous player-base is boosted by combining Xbox, PS4, and PC players, keeping it a relevant title for millions.
Which is why it has been so frustrating for sports gaming fans to still be isolated from the rest of the community.
EA Sports needs crossplay
EA is slowly trickling cross-platform play into its games.
Need For Speed Heat is adding it, and Star Wars Squadrons will launch with it.
But so far the big EA Sports titles have been quiet on the issue.
It's a worry because there is a growing sentiment among the community that buying each new game is simply paying £55 for a roster update.
REKINDLE THE MAGIC: Can FIFA convince fans that 21 is worth it?
Madden 21 is hard at work trying to convince players that gameplay changes are coming. However, FIFA 21 is yet to really kick-off a campaign to demonstrate the changes.
The appeal of a fresh Ultimate Team journey has been enough in previous years to keep players coming back so far. Covid-19 has been hampering development across the gaming world though and there are suspicions that this year's titles will be more similar than ever.
The one thing EA can do to really draw players into this year's titles is break the walls down and allow crossplay.
How FIFA 21 & Madden 21 crossplay could work
There are some complications within the FIFA & Madden ecosystem when it comes to crossplay. The main one is around Ultimate Team and the marketplace.
It would be much easier for people to have burner accounts and transfer cards & coins across to a main account if crossplay was enabled.
TAKE OFF: Crossplay would see a unified fanbase rather than fragmented
The solution would be to gate crossplay from Ultimate Team, and only include in in quick online matches or private leagues.
That would allow for a more unified community without risking the balance of the Ultimate Team environment.
Will we see it?
It's highly unlikely that crossplay will be in the 21 titles.
It feels like EA is testing the waters with NFS and Star Wars. With an aim to have it available on FIFA 22 and Madden 22.
That would be a terrific feature that every player would love, but it feels like EA could be doing more. Especially given how quickly crossplay has been successfully adopted by the Battle Royale world.
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