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Bungie explains why Destiny doesn't have PS4-to-PS3, Xbox One-to-360 cross-platform multiplayer

Bungie's collaborative shooter Destiny in action.

Above: Bungie's collaborative shooter Destiny in action.

Image Credit: Bungie

Destiny will hit PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 on Sept. 9, but new-gen players won’t get to play with their last-gen buddies.

Developer Bungie’s sci-fi online shooter doesn’t support cross-platform multiplayer. That’s nothing new when it comes to Microsoft and Sony systems, but the game also won’t enable PlayStation 4 gamers to get online and shoot aliens with people on PlayStation 3. In an interview with Digital Trends, Bungie engineer Roger Wolfson explained that it decided to cordon off new-gen from last-gen players for gameplay reasons and not due to technical limitations.

“I’ll speak for the hypothetical player,” Wolfson said. “[On PS3], I have a disadvantage sniping across the map because [my opponent with a new-gen console] is only two pixels on my screen, and I’m four pixels on his. You see that in the world of PC gaming, where people are always racing to the best video card to give themselves the advantage.”

That situation is due to the difference in resolution between the various versions of Destiny. On PS4 and Xbox One, the shooter will hit 1080p high definition, which means the game is rendering 1,080 horizontal lines for each frame. On PS3 and Xbox 360, the game will run at 720p.

That disparity in resolution doesn’t necessarily mean the PS3 player would always have a disadvantage compared to his PS4 counterpart. In most circumstances, a new-gen player and last-gen player would probably have even footing, but Bungie also wanted to avoid the appearance of giving Xbox One and PS4 a more favorable experience.

“Regardless of what the reality is, there’s definitely a perception among gamers that better hardware means you have an advantage,” said Wolfson. “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.”

So, does all this mean that Destiny looks lackluster on last gen? No. Bungie is insisting that isn’t the case. The developer notes that while the graphical fidelity may suffer, a lot of the other aspects are spot on.

“There’s really no difference at all in loading; the game is as fluid and as action-packed,” said Wolfson. “There are as many combatants on [screen as new-gen], and the loading times are equivalent.”

Players are getting their first taste of Destiny on PS3 right now. Bungie opened up a beta test yesterday for both Sony platforms for anyone who preordered (and thousands of others). The Xbox One and Xbox 360 beta will start next week.


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