Epic Games has launched a new crossplay tool for game developers. The game publisher, currently battling Google and Apple, claims its “Crossplay for PC” platform is the first step aimed at helping developers port their games to multiple storefronts.
The new Crossplay for PC tool is primarily meant for developers. It includes features that make it easier to create a seamless cross-play experience. This is possible due to ready to deploy or plug-and-play SDK (Software Development Kit). Epic claims the platform contains a toolset that allows developers to quickly and effortlessly implement crossplay services they choose. Everything else needed to offer gamers a crossplay experience is managed by the Crossplay for PC tool.
Speaking about the new development, Senior Director of Online Services at Epic Games Simon Allaeys said:
Crossplay gives all friends the opportunity to come together and create fond memories across interactive experiences. We are in the fortunate position to drive change in the industry with crossplay tools for all developers and we believe that connecting friends and communities will take the gaming industry to its next major growth spurt and its next billion players.
It seems Epic Games is planning to bring its Epic Online Services Crossplay to other platforms in the future. But for now, the crossplay service works on Steam and Epic Games Store.
The gamer-facing part of the service essentially has an overlay that merges the two stores' friends lists into a single one. This means gamers from either of the storefronts can search for their friends. Gamers can send and receive friend requests and join multiplayer games across the two stores.
Some of the highlights of the Crossplay Services are as follows:
All friends, one place: Steam and Epic Games Store friends merge into one overlay allowing players to see all friends in a single list.
Integrated game invites: In-game, players can search and send invites to friends across Steam and the Epic Games Store, making connecting and playing together easy.
Account linking: Onboarding without emails or password prompts. With just a few clicks, Steam players can jump into a game while an Epic Games account is created under the hood for their Steam account.
Update-free improvements: When games are installed, the crossplay features are distributed via a self-updating in-game overlay. Players can enjoy new features and improvements without needing to update anything themselves.
Plug-and-play SDK: Each Epic Online Services toolset is self-contained, so developers can mix and match the services they want to implement, incorporate the things they want, and leave the rest. Crossplay tools are no different.
Developers can download Epic Online Services SDK 1.15 and configure the same in the developer portal at dev.epicgames.com.
Cross-platform gaming has come a long way. However, game publishers and tech giants owning and operating their own storefronts, have caused fragmentation. Epic Games seems to be trying to help gamers join their friends in a gaming session without forcing additional purchases of the same game.