Paradox says cross-play is “the way to go”, but technical limitations are a struggle

Only a relatively small amount of players currently use multiplayer

Aside from being strong single-player experiences, Paradox games often include a compelling multiplayer element as well. Playing along-side friends is one of the greatest assets for longevity in the genre. Now Paradox has started overseeing console versions, there’s the option of cross-play. The developers are keen, but there’s some hurdles to overcome first.

At PDXCON, Paradox was asked if cross-play was a possibility. Shams Jorjani, Paradox Chief Business Development Officer, answered that right now the multiplayer side of the audience isn’t huge. But as that contingent grows, it becomes something of greater interest. “Generally, most of the grand strategy games have multiplayer, and we see between around eight and 20% of our players that play multiplayer,” He said. “So as that becomes a bigger thing it might become more relevant.”

Bridging the gap between platforms is something that falls within Paradox’s wider philosophies, too, Jorjani explained. “We generally tend to favour openness and connectivity,” He said. “Who’s against cross-platform play?”

Building cross-platform multiplayer is easier said than done, however. There’s a wide array of technical differences in PC and console, and bringing those communities together seamlessly presents many hurdles.

“Personally, in theory, I think cross-play is the way to go,” Ebba Ljungerud, CEO of Paradox, said. “But then you have lots of technical limitations, or various weaknesses.” Jorjani adding: “It’s not graphical, it’s processing power to run the simulations.” The example given is Nintendo Switch, where there’s a smaller screen and much less buttons for input commands among other issues, but the logic can be applied in to PS4, Xbox One and mobile, who each present distinct challenges.

While waiting for the chance to play with your console buddies, you can check out Crusader Kings 2 for free in lieu of Crusader Kings 3 being revealed, and have a look at the newly announced expansions for Stellaris, Prison Architect, and Hearts of Iron IV.