PUBG Corporation announced today that cross network play between the Playstation 4 and Xbox One systems is coming to PlayerUnknown's BATTLEGROUNDS. PUBG was one of the first games to utilize the battle royale mechanic that's since become a widespread gaming phenomenon, and remains one of the most well-known representatives of the genre, even as the popularity of EA's Apex Legends and Epic Games' Fortnite continues to grow.
By allowing cross network play between PS4 and Xbox One, which in theory effectively doubles the available player base, PUBG Corporation hopes to reduce loading and wait times before matches and create what they call a "more unified" PUBG experience across all platforms. To help facilitate this vision, the company is also taking steps to shorten the time between updates to the PC version of the game and its console counterparts, with all future updates after August 27 landing on consoles two weeks after they hit the PC.
August 27 is the beginning of PUBG's Season 4 on consoles, and will be marked by the Erangel Visual Update, which aims to provide a more realistic and striking new look to the game's first and most iconic map. The update, which came to PC back in July, boasts new building styles, hidden clues as to the island's lore and backstory, and some surprise changes to the map's topography. Also launching that day is a new co-op progression mechanic that'll allow players to complete certain missions and challenges together in order to unlock new in-game rewards.
The evolution of cross play between consoles has been a slow process, with Microsoft leading the way and Sony following languidly after, with the latter famously resisting calls for Fortnite cross play for far longer than fans were happy with. PUBG's cross network experience will launch first on the game's public test server in late September, and then be available to everyone on the live server sometime in early October. Ashely Youngsun Nam, Head of Console for PUBG Corporation, said that the company is "Looking forward to creating a more integrated experience."
For online-only games, and battle royale games like Fortnite and PUBG in particular, cross network play seems like the best option. Keeping a revolving door of up to a hundred players constantly moving is hard, and the only solution to long wait times between matches is to have more players ready to go at a moment's notice. By adding an entire console's worth of opponents to PlayerUnknown's BATTLEGROUNDS' lobbies, hopefully players will soon find themselves parachuting into Vikendi faster than ever before.