One of my favorite games to play at E3 2016 was Sea of Thieves. While the demo I played was an early build of the ambitious swashbuckling adventure, the overall experience left me pumped. Over the past few months, I’ve watched trailers and gameplay demos that have featured new gameplay mechanics. During Microsoft’s Gamescom presentation on Sunday, it was revealed that Sea of Thieves would feature cross-play. This means that Xbox One and PC owners of the game can play online together.
I think that the ability to experience Sea of Thieves via cross-play is a brilliant move from Rare and Microsoft. Not only is this a new IP, but it’s also an online focused video game. On the console market, online only games don’t always do well. The obvious exception to this rule is Overwatch, which has a consistent user base. Although I do have a gaming PC, I prefer to play my video games a console. There is something relaxing about being able to play video games from the comfort of my bed. Most of my friends, on the other hand, prefer to play games on their computer. This often leaves us at an impasse because they want me to play Steam games while I’m usually clamoring to play Halo 5: Guardians with my group.
Fortunately, Sea of Thieves presents us with the opportunity to play with each other through cross-play. It’s a game that I have campaigned for my group to get since the initial announcement trailer. Sea of Thieves is a fun cooperative experience that I had a blast playing with a bunch of people I had just met. Imagine how much better it would be with close friends? Some of the best games are those that you can sit back, relax, laugh, and make memories from playing. Up until this point, the Halo series has been the franchise that bonded my friends together. Rocket League and more recently, the hysterical Speedrunners has been some of the most fun my group has had in a while.
Not only that, but the company is also doubling down on cross-play. With this feature, it’s likely that the longevity of Sea of Thieves will lengthen significantly. Before cross-play, each platform had its own individual community. It sucked for games with online components because that meant it was hard to find a match. I remember the MMORPG Defiance which confined players to their own platform. I also think DOOM and Evolve, which didn’t seem to have much of a community on day one. Imagine having cross-play in games with heavy online components? This would mean that the player base would rise and that would mean great things for the developer, game, and community.
Sea of Thieves looks like it’ll be a unique game. As a fan of Rare since the early days, Sea of Thieves seems like a return to form for the iconic development studio. From my time with the game and through footage I have seen, it’s very whimsical, charming, and has that Rare humor that no other studio can replicate. Microsoft has placed a lot of faith in Rare, and the final product is shaping up to be a huge game for the Xbox brand.
New IPs are risky. Sometimes you have stellar results like Sony’s Horizon: Zero Dawn and other times you have games like the fun, but flawed ReCore that didn’t seem to find a huge audience. Sea of Thieves is a risk, despite it being developed by an iconic team. As a company, Microsoft should have the game’s best interest at heart. With cross-play, I think that it will be tough for the title to be a failure. As someone who is getting it on day one, I’m so excited that most of my friends who don’t like playing on consoles will also be getting it. I love that we’ll be able to play together, and I’m so excited to party up and make friends with PC fans who want to experience what looks like a fun game.
Can Sea Of Thieves launch and be a financial failure? Sure. Is it possible that the game will not live up to the high expectation people have for it? Absolutely! But what matters is that the game will be inclusive for all of the people who buy it. Cross-play is relatively new in the console market, and I think that Sea of Thieves is one of the first high-profile games that can benefit from this feature. Sea of Thieves can be a game-changer when it comes to cross-platform play. I intend to take advantage of cross-play, and I think that other players should also do the same. If Microsoft and Rare see how many people play with people from other platforms, it might incentify the company to focus on cross-play with their other triple A games. In the end, everybody wins when more people can play together.
What do you think about cross-play? Will you be using this feature? Are you happy that Sea of Thieves will also Xbox One and PC owners to play with each other? Leave a comment below.