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Epic Games adds free cross-play overlay tool to consoles

For the developers whose multiplayer games span multiple systems, and at no cost.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

August 16, 2023

1 Min Read
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Last year, Epic Games released a suite of tools for PC focused on cross-play, which are now starting to make their way over to consoles. Beginning today, a free overlay has been released on Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation and Xbox systems. 

All developers have to do is download the SDK for Epic Online Services, log in, then configure the setting in the developer portal.

"With the added support for the major console platforms, Epic Online Services now enables you to connect more players with a single overlay," wrote Epic. 

The overlay allows players to play together with anyone who owns another version of that game. On PC, this meant players who had a Steam or Epic Games Store version of a particular title were able to play regardless of which store they bought the game from. 

With that feature now expanded to consoles, Epic says the overlay "offers a ubiquitous way to authenticate players [and] streamline friend management...that’s designed to be compliant with native platform requirements."

"Anyone that’s ever developed a cross-play game knows that there are a lot of elements that go into making it feel seamless," it continued. "With the overlay, any game can enable players to sign in to their Epic Games account on all platforms and easily interact with their friends."

Last year, Epic's online services director Simon Allaeys stated that cross-play could be a boon to the industry. At the time, he noted that the functionality could lead to more players if connecting with friends was easier from a UI standpoint, and this overlay development appears to be made with that belief in mind. 

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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