Microsoft wants to enable Gears of War fans on Xbox One and the PC to play together, and it’s going to run a test of that functionality starting Friday.
Gears of War 4 is getting a special playlist from December 2 through December 5 that will mix together people playing on the PC and those playing on Xbox One. This trial period could lead to the permanent addition of crossplay, according to developer The Coalition. The studio originally said it wanted to keep the two versions of Gears of War 4 separate, but now it’s attempting to unify the Xbox Anywhere experience. Gears of War 4 was one of the first games to launch as an Xbox Anywhere title, which means that players can buy it once on Windows 10 and own it for both PC and Xbox One.
“Crossplay is divisive in any Versus experience, and Gears of War 4 is no different,” The Coalition community manager Liam “Octus” Ashley wrote in a blog post. “From the beginning, we stated our intention to keep both platforms separate in non-cooperative game modes in order to preserve competitive balance. Conserving a fair, competitive environment remains a top priority for us.”
The problem, of course, is that players on Xbox One are using a gamepad and some people on PC are using a mouse and keyboard. That could introduce a disparity in capabilities because a mouse typically has much better precision and reliability than a stick you control with your thumb. To find a balance between the two platforms, The Coalition plans to use this weekend’s test to collect data and feedback.
“What comes next after this hasn’t been decided,” wrote Ashley. “This weekend is an incredibly important first step in this process. Once we use the combination of our data and your feedback together, we’ll be able to make an informed next step (or not — as the case may be). The key thing we want to stress is that we won’t be making any surprise changes all of a sudden based on this weekend.”
To participate in the trial, hop online on either Xbox One or PC and look for the Crossplay game type.