Cross-platform compatibility defines a software application's ability to run without modification or customization across various platforms and devices. The 1984 launch of the game Tetris, which was played on different platforms such as computers, game consoles, and handheld devices, is one of the classic examples of cross-platform compatibility in gaming.
In context of mobile gaming, this means that players can have the same gaming experience on mobile devices independent of platform or hardware. You must be familiar with the terms "cross-platform" and "cross-play" if you are a part of the gaming community. This piece will clarify the importance of cross-platform compatibility in mobile gaming.
What is cross-platform compatibility?
A mobile game's ability to be played on various platforms and operating systems, such as Android, iOS, and Windows, is known as cross-platform compatibility in the industry. As a result, gamers using various platforms—regardless of their hardware or operating systems—can engage in an interactive game together. If a game is cross-platform compatible, for example, a player using an iPhone can play against a player using an Android phone. It also enables more connectivity among gamers and a greater player base. Cross-platform compatibility can also apply to games that can be played across multiple devices like mobile phones, tablets, and computers. This allows switching between devices for gamers seamlessly and avoids them from losing their progress or starting over. It is becoming more and more crucial in mobile gaming as more gamers want to be able to play with their friends and other players no matter what devices they are using.
Why is Cross-Platform Compatibility Beneficial for Gaming?
Cross-platform compatibility in mobile gaming is now becoming more and more well-liked among gamers and game developers. It offers several benefits that can significantly enhance both game-playing and agile methodologies. Following are the reasons why cross-platform compatibility is useful for gaming:
Increase player pool and accessibility
Players can access the same game from many platforms and devices due to cross-platform compatibility. By allowing players to play with friends and other players on any device, this feature increases the number of players. Also, it enables a more accessible gaming environment that makes it easier for people to participate in the game without the need for highly specialized hardware or software.
Enhance gaming experience and engagement
Cross-platform compatibility brings together gamers using different OSes and devices to create a more collaborative gaming experience. It improves and amplifies the game overall by enabling users to compete against one another across all types of devices. Players can now play their favorite games on various platforms, allowing them to switch between devices without losing their progress.
Reduce development time and costs
Developing a game that runs on many platforms and operating systems can be difficult, time-consuming, and costly. Cross-platform compatibility, on the other hand, allows you to create a single game that functions across various platforms, cutting down on development time and expenses. As you do not need to conduct thorough testing on each device or operating system, this functionality also simplifies the testing and debugging process simpler.
More efficient updates and bug fixes
Cross-platform compatibility enables developers to simultaneously deliver updates and bug fixes for all platforms. This feature streamlines the update process and ensures that regardless of the type of device being used, all players are getting the same updates and fixes at the same time. Cross-platform compatibility also reduces the chance of compatibility issues that might crop up when several versions of the same game are released on various platforms.
How can cross-platform compatibility be achieved using best practices?
For your product to have the greatest possible reach and to offer the best possible user experience, cross-platform compatibility must be achieved. You can assure that your applications run uniformly across all platforms and devices by standardizing APIs, putting the responsive design into action, leveraging cloud-based solutions, and collaborating. Let's go into full depth about a few best practices for obtaining cross-platform compatibility.
Standardization of APIs
The standardization of APIs is one of the main factors in establishing cross-platform compatibility. APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) are a set of protocols, processes, and tools that are utilized to develop software applications. Standardizing APIs ensures the seamless cross-platform functioning of your product. The development process is streamlined, errors are eliminated, and your product may be integrated with other tools due to the usage of common APIs.
Implementation of responsive design
Another essential component for achieving cross-platform compatibility is responsive design. The goal of responsive design is to deliver a seamless user experience across all platforms and devices for websites. While creating a website or application, responsive design adjusts the layout and content to fit the screen size of the device using a combination of flexible layouts, images, and CSS media queries. You can ensure that your software looks great and functions well across all platforms, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, by implementing responsive design.
Adoption of cloud-based solutions
Because of the multiple advantages they offer, including cross-platform compatibility, cloud-based solutions are becoming more and more well-liked among professionals. With the adoption of cloud-based solutions, your software can be updated and accessed from any location and device. Platform-specific software can be time-consuming and expensive to develop; cloud-based solutions do away with this need. You can ensure your system operates without a hitch across a variety of platforms and devices by adopting cloud-based solutions.
Collaborative development and testing
Cross-platform compatibility can only be achieved through collaborative development and testing. Working with other professionals to develop software that is cross-platform compatible is called collaborative development. To find and fix any bugs, collaborative testing involves testing your software on multiple platforms. Working together can assist you in ensuring that your product is compatible with a variety of platforms and devices. Also, collaborative testing enables you to identify any issues early on, which can eventually save time and money.
Cross Platform games give the advantage to extend games to third parties. We just had to build an SDK which can either be integrated into a third-party website or a mobile application and could also do a rebranding for the third party on the cross-platform application developed by us. We also developed a multi-game platform where all our games we listed as third-party games. With the help of the above SDK, we were able to easily integrate the games on our platform which opens a door to being a game publisher.
The key thing here was is to have a well-designed game architecture and a standardized APK designed by treating in-house games as third-party games. One of the important things to keep in mind is to mitigate the unfair advantages a player might get on some platforms, for instance, the user on a PC might be able to have an unfair advantage over players on a mobile phone. Although developing a cross-platform game gave us a bigger user pool but we had to alter the matchmaking process to eliminate these unfair advantages.
The biggest advantage of cross-platform gaming which we see is being it enables your game to be extended to third parties without any hassle or to a user the same game under different brands and having a common/bigger user pool for all the different brands. It also reduces the price to acquire users and the need to have bots in the gameplay.
One has to keep in mind not to tightly couple platform-dependent protocols in the business logic as these are susceptible to changes and may require upgradation. Moreover, these may vary from platform to platform. Apart from matchmaking one has to add a few other features too to make the gameplay more engaging.
In-game text and voice chat
Session management and In-game text and voice chat again may depend on the platform and may require additional permissions based on the platform. On top of that one should also avoid peer-to-peer communication as this may carry security risks and data tampering.