Five reasons why a multiformat future for Xbox and PlayStation isn’t worth crying about

Five reasons why a multiformat future for Xbox and PlayStation isn’t worth crying about
Ben Borthwick Updated on by

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There’s been a lot of talk in recent weeks of consoles going multiformat, that’s caused a huge amount of tension and worry in vocal sections of the gaming community – and with Xbox’s upcoming podcast, rumours ramped up that the MS brand is abandoning consoles altogether.

This was then compounded by comments from Sony chairman Hiroki Totoki during an investor Q&A with the company’s latest earnings report (credit to Eurogamer). In it, he said “a first party can be grown with multiplatform – and that can help operating profit to improve. So that is another one we want to proactively work on.”

In the midst of all this, there’s some people who are convinced this is the death knell for consoles, but frankly – that’s a big bit of baloney, as far as we’re concerned. Here’s five reasons why a multiformat future is pretty good, actually.

An end to console wars

Look, we get it. You’ve bought a console and you want to pin your flag to that mast. Like supporting a sports team – you want to justify your purchase (consoles aren’t cheap, after all) by your platform being ‘the best’ – it’s almost human nature, in a way.

But in reality, console wars can often get ugly. There’s nothing wrong with healthy competition – but that’s for the business men and bean-counters who work for the console to worry about. Not the gamers. There’s really no need for any of us to be attacking our friends just because they picked a different console at the checkout.

Access to all

Accessibility has never been more important than it is now. As we get more and more people into gaming, barriers are coming down on all sorts of levels. Surely then, that should mean being able to play where you want too?

Being able to have all the consoles is, when all is said and done, a luxury. Yes, a few of us are privileged enough to do so – but with the rising cost of games and subscriptions, it’s becoming harder and harder and as such, less accessible to own every format financially and practically.

There’s already plenty of great multiformat games

Don’t get me wrong – format exclusives have still consistently given us some of the best games of the last few years: Zelda Tears of the Kingdom and Spider-Man 2 spring to mind. But there’s plenty of great multiformat games out there too – Baldur’s Gate 3, Alan Wake 2 and Star Wars Jedi Survivor spring to mind.

To a degree, we’re already in an era where multiformat is the norm – so it does feel a bit crying over spilt milk at this point. Maybe developers could look towards format exclusive features, rather than making the entire game locked behind one company’s garden? (This is already pretty common on the PlayStation, for what it’s worth.)

Frankly, it’s likely to be better for developers too

The spiralling cost of making games is no secret these days – and while we don’t think we’ll see an end to the depressingly high number of layoffs of late, multiformat releases surely at least help make some of that back?

Again, it’s not a guarantee – Zelda managed to sell perfectly fine despite being on just one system, even if that system is one of the most sold of all time – but games being available in more places just means they can sell more of them and hopefully make some of that money back.

It’ll (hopefully) keep prices competitive and fair

This point may be something of wishful thinking – but if multiformat releases that make their way to PC are anything to go by, hopefully it’ll keep the costs of games at a manageable level for the rest of us.

It’s quite funny for us (if a shame for them) when PlayStation releases something like the PlayStation Portal – giving players a way to play PS exclusives on the go. And then they release Helldivers 2 – a PS ‘exclusive’ that’s also on PC and can be played on a Steam Deck that proceeds to be a monster success.

Historically, PC prices for games are often much lower – and go on sale more often – than their console counterparts. If multiformat releases prevent games from being priced too high (as it’s not the only place they can get those games from), that feels like it can only be a good thing for the gamer.

We’ll have to wait and see what Xbox announce during their podcast. But we do know for now the future of gaming is going to look very interesting indeed -whatever may come from today’s announcement.