Cross-platform multiplayer has officially arrived in Gears of War 4 [official site], letting Xboners and Tenners square off against each other while also letting territorial babies reignite tedious arguments about who's REALLY the baby. Right now, only the Versus 'Social Quickplay' playlist puts Xbone and Windows 10 players together, and it sounds like it'll stay that way. Expanding the playerpool and letting folks play with their consolechums (or PCpals!) is good stuff.
This week's official launch follows a weekend trial last year, which developers The Coalition say went peachy, with better games and no huge performance disparity.
"Windows 10 and Xbox players had closely-matched results when comparing Average KD, Score and Kills per match based on skill ratings," they say. They add, "The quality of matches improved for both Xbox and Windows 10 users – social lobbies had a higher average user count, and players completed 95% of all social matches entered vs 90% prior to Cross-play Weekend."
The Core and Competitive modes will remain split, mind. Microsoft say that "Despite the closely matched performance between users on both platforms seen in our cross-play Test Weekend, we always want to ensure our Ranked experiences are as closely matched and competitive as possible."
That's a bit curious. If the matchmaking works well and there are enough players, shouldn't player matchmaking ratings bypass any controller differences? Early experiments with cross-platform multiplayer saw e.g. Dreamcast players getting stomped by PCnauts in Quake 3, but one would hope modern matchmaking would be able to pit players with similar performance against each other.