Crossplay may very well be the future of multiplayer. However, while many modern games support this feature and use it well, some are still lagging behind. Plus, there’s no guarantee a title will ship with crossplay intact. You don’t have to worry about that with Diablo IV.
The Diablo IV Open Beta is just over a week away, and the Early Access beta will start even earlier than that, so now’s the time to start downloading. However, the question on everyone’s mind is what platform should you use. Obviously, you should install Diablo IV on whatever console you own, or better yet, on your PC (assuming it can run the game). However, that answer doesn’t take friends into consideration, because what if they want to play with you but don’t own the same platform? Thankfully, that hypothetical question doesn’t actually have any influence on your platform of choice thanks to crossplay.
Blizzard has stated multiple times on official Battle.net support articles and Twitter that Diablo IV (and, by extension, its betas) will feature crossplay. This news is as welcome as it is unexpected since Diablo II: Resurrected notoriously didn’t support that feature. To take advantage of crossplay, gamers will simply need a Battle.net account. Of course, you need an account to play Diablo IV anyway, so that shouldn’t be an issue.
Even better, Diablo IV will also feature cross-progression, which will allow players to begin on one platform and continue on another without losing any progress. Of course, gamers will need to link their consoles and PC to their Battle.net account to access that feature, but please note that cross-progression doesn’t unlock Diablo IV for all consoles. If you plan on playing on Xbox Series X and PC, you still have to purchase it for both platforms. However, since the betas will only last a few days each, participants probably won’t have enough time to take full advantage of Diablo IV’s cross-platform functionality.
While the news that Diablo IV and its beta will sport crossplay and cross-progression sounds like a boon, there’s always a price to pay. As with Diablo III and Diablo Immortal before it, Diablo IV will allegedly require a constant internet connection and utilize servers. While any player with any gaming platform that supports Diablo IV can join these servers, if you want to team up with a friend, both will have to select the same server and maintain a connection to that server. At least that feature somewhat justifies the use of that always-controversial always-online requirement.
Diablo IV‘s beta will also support couch co-op for those who are able to take advantage of that always-welcome feature. Even better, you only need one beta code for the game to play couch co-op with a friend during the Early Access beta, and no beta codes for both players to play together during the upcoming open beta period. However, all couch co-op participants will need to have their own Battle.net accounts to participate.
Once the early and open betas start, we will have a chance to test out Diablo IV’s crossplay and cross-platform functions. With luck, these services will be fairly painless and give audiences an opportunity to play the game without worrying about their chosen platform or even regional limitations. But that remains to be seen.