‘Sea Of Thieves’ Poised To Become First Xbox Cross-Play Hit


Sea of Thieves has been garnering massive amounts of praise through a closed beta and a scale test this past weekend. The open-sea multiplayer co-op title has been praised for its ability to promote player-driven shenanigans on both the Xbox One and PC. However, the draw from the PC side of the equation may be the most surprising yet and sets the stage for Rare’s latest ditty to be a breakout Xbox Play Anywhere hit.

Ted Simmons did a presentation at the PC Gamer Weekend conference this past weekend where he discussed Sea of Thieves and the importance of certain features while building the PC version of the title. He also revealed a surprising statistic toward the end of his presentation. Fully 35 percent of the closed beta participants played on PC. This increased to 50 percent of the player base playing on PC during the recent scale test.

Xbox Play Anywhere has been around since the second half of 2016 and has grown to 43 titles during that time, according to the Xbox website. However, none have reached the kind of participation numbers that Rare is able to boast with Sea of Thieves and this includes major games like Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3, and Halo Wars 2.

Scouting an island for treasure hunting in Sea of Thieves.

Of course, Sea of Thieves does not officially launch on the Xbox One and PC until March 20 but it already has several things working towards its advantage on the PC. First, Rare has learned the lessons of bad console ports from other developers and has not repeated the same mistakes. The game is loaded with options for graphics, keybindings, controls options, and more. It has the added bonus of supporting a large range of PC configurations from “potato” quality PCs and monitors from the 1990s to high-end gaming rigs with the latest processors, graphics cards, and ultra-wide monitors.

The base of Sea of Thieves is strong with plenty of options but Rare is also implementing what it calls “No Asterisk Cross Play.” In other words, the game does not treat PC players and Xbox One players differently by placing them in different playlists or other restrictive features.

Not treating the platforms differently may concern some Sea of Thieves players that the mouse and keyboard set will gain an advantage over those using a gamepad. Fortunately, the game appears to be designed to where any benefit in aiming and movement is negligible at best as most of the game is spent managing the ship. The main benefit will likely come with the use of hotkeys and the amount is not quite measured at this point.

Sea of Thieves launches March 20 for the PC and Xbox One. It is also the first Microsoft title to release to the Xbox Game Pass at the same time it launches.