Xbox players are growing increasingly frustrated at being forced to play against PC gamers. While crossplay was initially a popular request from Xbox and PC players that Microsoft has backed strongly for years, those playing first-person shooters on Xbox are struggling to opt out of the experience to avoid PC cheaters.
Games like Call of Duty: Warzone and Halo Infinite force Xbox players to match against PC gamers in a variety of playlists. You don’t have to look very far to see why people are angry about it. “Now that cheating in Halo is confirmed on PC, can we have to option to opt out of cross-play?” asked one Reddit post in November, just weeks after the multiplayer version of Halo Infinite launched.
“Forced crossplay is a scam by Microsoft,” reads another post in Microsoft’s Halo Waypoint forums. “Forced crossplay is a mistake,” says another Redditor, and the list goes on, and on, and on.
Halo Infinite and Call of Duty: Warzone are both suffering from an influx of cheating, largely because they’re free-to-play titles so it’s easy for hackers to create a new account following a ban. While there’s an option to disable crossplay in Warzone, if you try to load into a playlist on Xbox it will ask you to re-enable it. Whereas on PlayStation you can simply dismiss the prompt and continue to the playlist with crossplay still disabled.
Warzone players on Xbox have been complaining about this forced crossplay for more than a year, with various forum posts and YouTube videos highlighting how irritating it is to be forced into crossplay. Most of the issues are related to PC cheaters, who have plagued Warzone for years before Activision finally added a new anti-cheat system in October with a kernel-level driver to catch PC cheaters.
Now that cheaters are already ruining Halo Infinite multiplayer games, the call to remove forced crossplay is certainly growing louder. Halo Infinite players on Xbox are matched against PC gamers in most playlists, and even in ranked modes you have to play solo or as a duo to avoid forced crossplay. If you want to squad up as a team of three or four, you’ll be forced to play against PC players in ranked Halo Infinite modes.
Microsoft’s decision to force crossplay in its own Halo Infinite title runs against previous commitments from the company’s head of Xbox. “I’ll never force somebody in our games whose playing with a controller or a mouse and keyboard to play against somebody with a different control scheme,” said Xbox chief Phil Spencer in an interview with Gamespot in 2016. “Mouse and keyboard rotation speed is faster than controller. We know that, you’ll lose.”
Nothing has changed in the classic arguments between mouse and keyboard players and controllers. Xbox players simply want the option to be able to opt out of crossplay, and not to have to be forced to play against PC players. A lot of PC players would also like to avoid controller aim assist in games like Warzone and Halo Infinite.
Battlefield 2042 launched in November with forced crossplay for Xbox players, and an option to disable it for PlayStation owners. In a sign that things can change, Developer DICE was quick to add the option to disable crossplay for Xbox players just a few weeks after launch. Even Microsoft’s Sea of Thieves, the original darling of crossplay, added an option to disable forced crossplay a few years after launch.
We reached out to both Microsoft and Activision to comment on the forced crossplay situation, and neither company was willing to issue a statement in time for publication. 343 Industries, the developer behind Halo Infinite, made it clear it’s trying to address the cheating issues in the game yesterday. 343 is hoping to address cheating and “other things” in a patch in mid-February. 343 won’t be magically fixing cheating issues from its game with a single patch, but here’s hoping there’s an option to avoid most of them next month.