Why Destiny doesn’t allow cross-play

Monday, 21st July 2014 01:39 GMT By Brenna Hillier

You can carry your Destiny character back and forth between PlayStation 3 and PS4, but you can’t play alongside your buddies on the other console. Bungie explains.


Destiny doesn’t allow cross-play between Xbox platforms and PlayStation platforms, and that’s understandable: the platform holders are to blame for that. But why doesn’t it allow cross-play between PS3 and PS4, or Xbox 360 and Xbox One?

According to a recent interview with Bungie engineer Roger Wolfson it all comes down to providing an equitable experience on all platforms: the older consoles just can’t match the resolution of the newer ones.

“I’ll speak for the hypothetical player. I have a disadvantage sniping across the map because [my opponent with a next-gen console] is only two pixels on my screen and I’m four pixels on his,” Wolfson told Digital Trends.

“You see that in the world of PC gaming, where people are always racing to the best video card to give themselves the advantage. Regardless of where the reality is, there’s definitely a perception among gamers that better hardware means you have an advantage. We don’t want to have to enter that fray, so to create the best, most level playing field, both actually and perceptually, we separated it by platform.”

But if Bungie’s insistent that the platform barriers will remain in place, why is it that Destiny characters are cross-generational?

According to Wolfson, it’s because “a decade from now when we’re into the later sequels” you’ll still be able to use the same characters you created for the first Destiny.

“Our goal for Destiny is that each time you play it, you’re going to have a different experience,” he said.

“Not just because of the social interaction, and the fact that you can play with different people, but because your character is growing and will have different ways of playing the same content every time you go back and replay it.”

Meanwhile, Bungie is working hard to make sure the game won’t become unfriendly to beginners when these hypothetical sequels manifest.

“Let’s say Destiny 2 [and] Destiny 3 are out, and we have new players joining the fun. [They] want to play those new games alongside those who have been playing Destiny from the beginning,” Wolfson said.

“[We want to ensure] they won’t feel like they’re four years behind. And then, if they want to, they’ll be able to go back and pick up the old content on their same character. So we’ve done a lot of planning for how that’s going to work, to not make people feel like they have years worth of levelling up to do.”

Destiny comes out in September. A beta is currently underway on PS3 and PS4, and will arrive on Xbox 360 and Xbox One this coming week.



  1. The_Red

    Bullshit personified.
    Instead of just saying “it’s hard to do” or “costs too much”, they had to rely on the insane resolution difference (Which only makes sense if you are comparing HD to 320p or something). There are a LOT of multiplayer gamers on PC that purposefully REDUCE their resolution while in a MP match.

    #1 5 months ago
  2. fengato

    Agreed. Bungie gimps the PS4/X1 versions to 30fps (so as to ‘avoid creating a major difference between platforms’) then fails to capitalise on the advantage of having cross gen play. I live in Oz – having a larger player base makes an enormous difference to the quality of matching making. The lag for me in the Iron Banner events (whilst playing Americans) was atrocious.

    #2 5 months ago
  3. polygem

    I didn’t count the hours but I played this a lot over the weekend. A lot lot. I haven’t experienced any issues at all. Well, I got kicked out of the game ONCE but when I checked I saw that psn was down.

    I am very impressed by how well this game runs and plays. Very first ps4 game that makes me excited about actually owning a ps4.

    I had huge expectations for this one and they have been met.

    In the gameplay department I think they have totally nailed it. They have taken elements from halo and from other shooters, then they added some destiny specific stuff. The formula feels close to perfect to me. Their interpretation just feels right. It’s crazy fun.

    I bet that the gameplay will also drastically change the more you level up, making this game much more strategic than most shooters.

    I am complaining a lot. Here I can’t find a single reason to do so.

    I also completely dig the art design. In most games there is something I don’t like with the aesthetics. Here everything just looks right. From the menues to the bosses.

    The game will become a HUGE success and I can’t wait for the final build.

    Regarding cross play…well I think it’s great that you can play this on the last gen too and it looks like that version is rocksolid as well.
    That’s the most important part, isn’t it?…That you can enjoy the game no matter the platform.

    #3 5 months ago
  4. The_Red

    You are reaaallly digging the game, aren’t you? :)

    Wish I could feel the same because Halo 1-3 are among the best console FPS games ever made IMHO. I found Destiny to be the most generic shooter I’ve tried in the last 12 months (With the MMO-ish design of beta missions being bafflingly bad).
    If anything, it kinda made me sad that Destiny is going to be the biggest PS4 game of 2014 when much better like shooters like Wolfenstein exist.

    #4 5 months ago
  5. polygem


    yes, i really do. there was a big chance that i´d be disappointed by it because i had crazy expectations.

    imo the beta shows that the basics work and i think that the gameplay will change a lot in the full game, the more your characters progress and level up. you are getting a glimpse of that already.

    the way you´re making progress is done very well and you constantly want to keep playing to unlock the next thing to see what it does, be it a weapon unlock or your skill tree. for me it even works already wiht most things not even available in the beta. i am hooked.
    i am thinkng about this game a lot and i want to keep playing it. that´s always the very best sign.

    playing the strike mission with friends is great. chalenging and fun. you can also adjust the difficulty of your sp missions from orbit. playing harder ones results in more XP. i recommend trying that. it changes the game a lot, giving it a true halo, heroic, legendary vibe.
    you need to play this much more slow paced then. it feels good.

    i like the sp a lot too eventhough there is clearly so much more to come. the sp also allows me to test out weapons and playstyles that i could later use in the pvp section of the game.

    i completely dig the pvp. i had some terribble, terribble matches this far :D but also some very great ones. this game is very skill based and despite the crazy amount of abilities and different weapons this game plays around with, the beta already feels very well balanced to me.

    and then the art- and sounddesign. i can´t see a single flaw here. just right.

    this beta is also only a shy glance at the game really, with the most stuff not even abvailable at all – but judging it on what´s there already…i am thinking this will become one of my most played games in the next few years and man, i am looking forward to that now.

    yeah i dig it – can´t help it :D

    #5 5 months ago
  6. polygem

    oh…and enemy AI: smart!

    #6 5 months ago
  7. Game Hunter

    @polygem hmm why do I get the feeling That Erthazus might show up in any minute and disagree with you?oh well,he’s our AI expert after all(no offence intended Erth)

    #7 5 months ago
  8. The_Red

    I honestly can not agree with most of your points :(

    The only parts that really shine are AI (In parts) and UI (Super slick). Regarding the sound design, some of melee hits are awesome but other sounds are really lame. The general themes and music has also been disappointing so far (For Bungie). Art direction is indeed decent and colorful but also highly derivative of both Halo and Mass Effect.
    It’s not a technically impressive game that can’t go beyond 30fps. A game with average visuals like this needs to be at least 60fps (Though I realize it’s too soon to judge these aspects since most of otherworldly elements haven’t been unlocked. Maybe if they do unlock moon during beta things might feel different).

    Sure, it is polished but that’s it. A polished but boring and super generic title IMO. The gunplay (Core of gameplay) feels especially weightless when compared to recent Wolfenstein or even Battlefield 4.

    #8 5 months ago
  9. Hcw87


    I really like the atmospheric ambient Music in the beta. I disagree slightly on the AI though, it’s OK, but nowhere near Halo-quality (killing elites will make grunts flee for example).

    There are too many instances of enemies leaning out from behind cover to take a few shots at you and repeating it over and over, instead of trying to flank you.

    #9 5 months ago
  10. The_Red

    Wait what? The AI was actually really good at flanking me! Though I have to agree that they are not as awesomely dynamic as some Halo enemies. When it comes to music, I need to be invested in lore and general feel of the world to enjoy atmosphere and here. Without it (This being a beta and feeling really generic) the ambient music ended up boring me instead of immersing.

    #10 5 months ago
  11. polygem

    The beta is obviously limited contentwise (compared to the expected full game content that is).

    i have listened to the bungie podcast quite a lot over the last year or so. there will be A LOT of different areas and planets to explore. i think the enemies and breeds, locations, tasks and gamemodes, weapons, skills will vary a lot in the final game.

    again, i disagree with the criticism – what´s in the beta is spot on imo and the more i Play it the more i realise that this game is extremely well designed and thought out. the game looks beautiful, plays like a dream and is almost drowning in style.

    i can´t see a flaw here. not a single one. it´s crazy really. it´s like the mario kart of the shooter games.

    #11 5 months ago
  12. Kreion

    I think comparing it to Mari kart is a bit much, considering that, in that example, pretty much everyone likes the game. However that’s not really so for Destiny – you clearly like it a lot but I’ve never found it to be particularly engaging. It’s okay, it’s fun but certainly not amazing…especially since this is being made by Bungie so naturally the standard which it’s being held up to is higher.

    It’s above average, thanks to all the polish – but the gameplay’s not that incredible and everything felt a bit lacking to me if I were to compare it to say Halo 3. With that said it’s design is solid and it is only the beta – so hopefully it can continue to grow.

    #12 5 months ago
  13. bradk825

    Because no game has ever allowed cross-gen play? Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think it’s ever been done.

    #13 5 months ago
  14. Goffee

    Simple rule here, let the players decide!

    #14 5 months ago
  15. Legendaryboss

    @bradk825 It exists, so Bungie’s excuses are indeed to quote The_Red “bullshit personified.”

    #15 5 months ago
  16. Legendaryboss

    @The_Red +1

    #16 5 months ago
  17. polygem


    i absolutely respect your opinion – i just strongly disagree :D

    imo, from what i have played this far, it indeed completely nails a formula, just like mario kart does.

    the polish to be found here (played the ps4 version) is really on a nintendo level imo, maybe even beyond that. it is certainly something extremely rare.

    it´s just a rock solid product, even in it´s beta state and it is a relief to play a game like that again after so many triple a disappointments i had in the last years.

    i can´t understand the criticism because to me this game feels just right in almost every way. this far, i like literally everything about it and i can count the games i feel the same about on one hand probably.

    i can´t understand how anyone could call this average. i mean i have played tons of games in the past 30 years and this one is definitley among the most polished and smooth experiences i have had in gaming. it´s presentation blows me away.

    it all feels natural, effortless, fluid and smooth without frustrations (the general interaction with the game and it´s mechanics). everything works like it should and the way you interact with the game – it just becomes second nature instantly.

    you, the controller and the game become one. that´s a huge achievement.

    i can imagine that these bold words can easily trigger some severe rolleye moments…but it´s how i feel about this :D

    #17 5 months ago
  18. polygem


    You absolutely can´t compare a FF mp experience with a super competitive twitch reaction MP shooter though.

    “Scratch the surface. Don´t waste my time” (Sick of it all)

    #18 5 months ago
  19. Aullah

    @polygem “twitch reaction MP shooter”

    Lol I laugh so hard.

    #19 5 months ago
  20. polygem

    Yep. This isn’t halo anymore.

    #20 5 months ago

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