Frontier Developments and Microsoft surprised everyone at the Game Developers Conference by announcing that Elite: Dangerous, was headed to the Xbox One. While this was announced during the same presentation that Microsoft announced its cross-buy initiative to combine with the cross-play feature for the Xbox One, that doesn’t mean the MMO space sim will support either.
Designer David Braben spoke with PCGamesN at GDC where he confirmed that he liked the idea of Cross-Play between the Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs. However, there’s one problem that makes that less than ideal.
“Liking [cross-play] doesn’t mean it will be coming to Elite: Dangerous soon, because there’s one big problem looming over cross-play,” Braben said.
“I think the challenges for us, which sort of fights against it, is we’ve also said that we’ll continue to do updates across all platforms, and what we didn’t want was PC updates to be held up for whatever reason, like if there’s a delay on another platform.”
The reason for the difference between when PC and consoles updates are released is due to the certification process that Microsoft requires for Xbox One patches. This process can take up to two weeks and, if the update fails certification, the process can start all over again.
Fortunately, Microsoft has greatly relaxed its certification requirements for developers over the past couple of years. Developers used to have to pay for certification and the entire process was generally considered to be painful.
While certification for the Xbox One is no longer the huge obstacle it once was on the Xbox 360, it’s something that still has to be factored in. Developers have to consider whether they wish to delay the release of a PC patch or wait for the console version to catch up. That’s the only thing that is holding up Elite: Dangerous supporting cross-play.
“What we’ve said for definite is that they will be playing in the same world, the same background sim will be affecting the same stock markets and stuff like that. I would like to see cross-play as well. There’s nothing presenting it technically, other than that the worlds might be slightly out of sync,” Braben explained.
— Elite Dangerous (@EliteDangerous) March 4, 2015
The Xbox One release of Elite: Dangerous is planned for later this year. The PC version of the game is already playable using the Xbox 360 or Xbox One controllers, so don’t expect many changes. The future content updates “Wings” and “Power Play” will be available for the console version as well as the PC version.
Xbox One titles that are confirmed to support cross-play between the Xbox One and Windows 10 so far include Fable Legends, #IDARB, and Gigantic.