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Microsoft Makes Gears Of War 4 Cross-Play Official

Starting today, Gears of War 4 players will be able to mix it up with opponents on other consoles when Microsoft launches Windows 10 and Xbox One cross-play for its popular third-person shooter.

As reported on the official Xbox website, Gears of War 4's Social Quickplay option is now an official cross-play playlist, meaning that Social Quickplay matches will include players using both of Gears of War 4's supported platforms. This is a permanent change, although Microsoft considers the next few months a "trial period," and the publisher will be monitoring the game closely to make sure that cross-play works as intended.


Gears of War 4's two ranked modes, Core and Competitive, remain platform-independent—while Microsoft's data indicates that neither platform has a real competitive edge in cross-play, given the differences between PCs and the Xbox One (and, presumably, their associated controllers) the company wants "to ensure our Ranked experiences are as closely matched and competitive as possible."

Last December, Microsoft ran a weekend-long test to gauge cross-play's viability, which returned promising results. According to Microsoft, cross-play drastically improved the quality of Gears of War 4's multiplayer experience. On average, social lobbies had more users during the cross-play test, and users completed 95% of the matches played during the trial, compared to 90% before cross-play was implemented. 90% of all social matches played during the cross-play trial included both Windows 10 and Xbox One users.


Note that cross-play isn't the same as Microsoft's Play Anywhere program, which Gears of War also supports. While Play Anywhere games are classified as cross-buy, meaning that purchasing the game on Windows 10 or Xbox One unlocks the game on the other platform free-of-charge, many of those titles limit multiplayer pools to one system during actual gameplay.

Gears of War 4 released on Xbox One and Windows 10 on October 11, 2016, and while it didn't make our list of the all-time best Xbox One games, that's more of a testament to the strength of Xbox One's library and less of a knock on the game itself.