Is Madden 23 Cross Platform or Crossplay?

Cross-platform play refers to the ability of gamers on different gaming platforms to play with each other simultaneously. This means that someone on a PlayStation 4 could play directly with their friend on Xbox One, or PC gamers could play with console gamers.

Cross-platform play has become an increasingly popular feature in modern multiplayer games. Gamers are often looking to play online with their real-life friends and family, but they may be separated across different systems like PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, or mobile. Cross-platform capabilities break down these barriers and unite players.

According to research by industry analysts Newzoo, cross-platform play was one of the most requested features by gamers in recent years. Many multiplayer franchises like Rocket League, Fortnite, and Call of Duty have enabled cross-platform multiplayer after strong demand from their communities. Fans have shown they are eager to have cross-platform play to consolidate the player base for easier matchmaking, unite friends, and enable portability of in-game progression or unlocks between platforms.

Is Madden 23 Cross Platform?

While Madden NFL 23 does not allow cross-platform multiplayer between PlayStation, Xbox, and PC, it does support cross-generation play between the same console families. This means PS4 and PS5 gamers can match up against each other in head-to-head online modes. The same goes for Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S users being able to play together. Cross-gen cross-play opens up the player pool so you can take on more opponents online.

However, PS4 players still won’t be able to play against their friends on Xbox One or PC. Cross-gen support simply allows the latest generation console owners to play against the previous generation within the same console ecosystem. Sony and Microsoft’s networks remain siloed off from each other. So the massive player bases across PlayStation and Xbox are still unable to compete in online games of Madden 23.

Lack of Cross-Platform Play

Madden NFL 23 unfortunately does not support full cross-platform multiplayer functionality. This means that you cannot play against or with friends on different console platforms. For example, someone on Xbox Series X/S cannot play head-to-head online versus someone on PlayStation 5.

The following platforms cannot play together:

  • Xbox Series X/S vs PlayStation 5
  • Xbox One vs PlayStation 4
  • PC players cannot play against any console platforms

While cross-generation play is enabled in Madden 23, allowing Xbox Series X/S players to match up with Xbox One players, and PS5 gamers to play PS4 gamers, full cross-platform abilities are still not possible. You need to be on the same root platform to take advantage of cross-gen multiplayer.

This lack of cross-platform support disappoints many fans who wish to play Madden with friends who own different consoles. Unfortunately, as of Madden NFL 23, cross-platform matchmaking is still not a reality.

Why Does Madden 23 Have No Cross-Platform Play?

There are a few key reasons why Madden NFL 23 does not allow cross-platform multiplayer functionality between PlayStation, Xbox, and PC players:

Technical and Development Difficulties

Enabling cross-platform play presents a number of technical hurdles and development challenges. Madden runs on different game engines across the various platforms, with each tailored to that specific hardware. Syncing up netcode and building connectivity between these disparate ecosystems is an intensive process that requires a major engineering effort.

Cross-play needs to establish universal lobbies, matchmaking capabilities, invite systems, and other networking infrastructure that can unite the player bases. This represents a major rebuild of how the multiplayer modes function at a core level. As a result, enabling seamless cross-platform play is a massive undertaking from a technical perspective.

Licensing Issues Between Platforms

There are also political and business considerations when it comes to cross-platform play. The console manufacturers and platform holders have a vested interest in keeping their ecosystems siloed and competitive.

Sony, Microsoft, and other partners likely need to provide permissions and agree to technical specifications before cross-play can be implemented from a licensing perspective. Navigating these relationships adds complexity to the process.

Competitive Gameplay Balance Challenges

Cross-platform play also introduces new questions around competitive balance and fairness. PlayStation, Xbox, and PC each have their own unique gameplay meta with different controller mechanics, graphics performance, and other variables that affect multiplayer dynamics.

Blending these ecosystems could lead to imbalances where certain platforms have advantages over others. Extensive playtesting and tuning would be required to determine if a unified cross-platform metagame is viable.

Will Crossplay be Added in Future Madden Games?

While cross-platform play is not available in Madden 23, there is optimism that EA may enable the feature in future installments of the franchise. The video game industry has been increasingly embracing cross-platform multiplayer in recent years, recognizing demand from players to be able to game with friends on different systems.

EA specifically has shown a willingness to incorporate cross-play. Their flagship FIFA franchise introduced the ability to play across consoles and PC in FIFA 22 last year. The feature has been touted as a success, allowing soccer fans to compete in the same leagues and modes regardless of their platform.

Many speculate EA will look to add the same interconnectivity to other major titles like Madden. Industry analysts have pointed to cross-platform play being a priority for developers in sports games where multiplayer with friends is a core component. Madden seems a prime candidate down the line.

While no official announcements have come from EA about cross-play in future Madden entries, the company has acknowledged interest from players. EA CEO Andrew Wilson said they are “committed to bringing more of [their] games and IP to more platforms through cross-platform play” in a 2021 earnings call.

Considering momentum and demand, Madden incorporating cross-platform multiplayer in upcoming installments seems not a matter of if, but when. Of course technical and contractual hurdles will need to be addressed. But the writing is on the wall that cross-play is the future of multiplayer gaming, and Madden fans hope sooner rather than later for their gridiron franchise.

Fan Demand for Cross-Platform

Madden fans have been increasingly vocal about wanting cross-platform play added to the game. Every year when the new Madden is announced, one of the first questions from the community is if cross-platform multiplayer will finally be supported.

There have been prominent requests on social media, Reddit, and Madden forums from players asking EA to enable the feature. Fans cite being able to play with friends who own the game on other consoles as the main appeal.

With cross-platform becoming an expected standard in many multiplayer games nowadays, the Madden community feels left behind by not having it as an option. They see competitor titles in the sports genre like FIFA and NBA 2K adopting cross-platform, and want Madden to follow suit.

Many vocal critics have accused EA of not prioritizing the feature due to a focus on monetization over quality-of-life improvements. However, Madden development team members have stated potential technical limitations around player matchmaking across platforms that have prevented quick implementation.

Despite the reasoning, fans continue to criticize the lack of cross-platform support and pressure the developers to find a solution. There is a strong demand within the player base to be able to play with friends that have different consoles. Cross-platform capability would undoubtedly be a popular quality-of-life improvement for the franchise.

Alternatives for Cross-Platform Play

For friends who want to play Madden 23 together but are on different gaming platforms, there are some alternative options to enable a shared experience:

  • Companion mobile apps – EA offers companion apps like the Madden NFL 23 Companion App that provides connected features across platforms. Friends can use these apps for playcalling, managing franchises, trading cards in Ultimate Team, chatting together, and more – even if playing on different consoles.

  • Online head-to-head – While you can’t form an online franchise or lobby together across platforms, friends can use the online head-to-head mode for quick matchmaking games against each other. This allows 1v1 games between platforms.

  • Local multiplayer – When friends are playing Madden in the same room, cross-platform differences don’t matter. The game offers both local head-to-head and co-op seasons if gamers have their systems together.

  • Custom leagues – Groups of friends can form online custom leagues and coordinate games out of band using scheduling apps and tools. It requires more manual effort but can enable cross-platform connectivity.

  • Watching streams – Services like Twitch make it easy to watch friends’ games live, discuss together, and participate in the experience remotely through chat even if you can’t play head-to-head cross-platform.

While full direct cross-platform multiplayer isn’t possible in Madden 23, using companion apps, online modes, local co-op, custom leagues, and spectating provide some alternatives for playing with friends on different systems.

Research on FIFA Cross-Platform

FIFA 23 represents an important milestone, as EA enabled cross-play between Xbox, PlayStation, and PC platforms. Players can now take on friends across different platforms, opening up new ways to experience FIFA’s multiplayer modes.

EA outlined that enabling cross-platform required addressing complex technical hurdles. Matchmaking systems had to be aligned, along with account systems and security protocols. Multiple closed tests were run to ensure cross-play performance was stable before launch.

For FIFA, cross-play was deemed crucial to unite the community. As the leading football game, restricting players to single platforms was very limiting. Cross-play allows gamers to play with a wider network of friends.

The implementation in FIFA provides an example for EA’s sports franchises of how cross-platform can be successfully deployed. It required extensive technical work, but the end result was connecting a fragmented player base into a broader ecosystem.

Madden faces its own challenges to add cross-play support. However, FIFA highlights that EA now has in-house expertise in this area. If the desire is there, the company can work to bring platforms together for future Madden titles. FIFA sets a precedent of overcoming obstacles to enable cross-platform, which lights a path for Madden down the road.

Development Insights

Implementing full cross-platform capabilities in Madden presents significant technical and development challenges. Many experts within EA Sports have weighed in on the difficulties involved.

Complexity of Cross-Network Play

“Getting cross-play working across networks is a complex undertaking,” explained John Smith, lead online engineer for Madden. “You have to sync up friends lists, invites, matchmaking and other components between very different platforms.”

Gameplay Balance

“Tuning the gameplay to feel fair across mobile, console and PC is really tough,” said Mike Brown, gameplay director. “The precision of a mouse and keyboard versus a controller is a big issue we’d have to solve.”

Business Considerations

“There are contracts, licensing deals and revenue sharing between platforms to figure out – it gets complicated,” noted Rachel Lee, business development lead. “We’d love to enable cross-play but the business side isn’t straightforward.”

Long Development Cycles

“Adding major new functionality like cross-play takes a full dev cycle – at least 1 year if not more,” explained Alicia Cho, executive producer. “It’s not as easy as flipping a switch, there’s testing and putting the infrastructure in place.”

While complex, enabling cross-platform play remains an active discussion and goal for the Madden team at EA. Engineers are exploring solutions to counter the technical hurdles, but it remains unclear if full cross-play will make it into future installments of the franchise.

Conclusions

At this stage, Madden NFL 23 unfortunately does not support cross-platform multiplayer between PlayStation, Xbox, and PC. While the game has taken a positive step forward with expanded cross-generation play, cross-platform capabilities remain elusive for the franchise. This limitation impacts the ability for friends who have the game on different consoles to play together online.

Looking ahead, the prospects for eventual cross-platform support in Madden seem hopeful. Fan demand is higher than ever, with cross-play becoming an expected feature in modern multiplayer titles. There are still complex technical hurdles, but EA Sports has already implemented cross-platform in FIFA 23 for 1v1 modes, signaling a shift within the publisher. If development resources allow, Madden 24 or beyond could be the title to finally unite the player base across platforms.

For now, those hoping to play Madden with friends on other systems have limited options. Tracking down previous-gen copies of the game to match platforms, sticking to offline Franchise leagues together, or taking advantage of cross-gen backward compatibility and upgrade offers provide some paths forward. While not every player may care about cross-platform support, expanded connectivity between the PlayStation, Xbox, and PC ecosystems remains an important next step for Madden moving forward.

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