What to look forward to: One issue some players may have with the growth of the Epic Games store is the fragmentation of multiplayer communities. If someone gets a game for free on Epic, they might ask if they can play it with their friends who bought it on Steam. Epic’s new development tools aim to address this issue.
Epic Online Services crossplay was released to developers last week to help them bring Steam and Epic players together. The toolbox is not part of Epic’s Unreal Engine, so any game running on any engine can use it.
The crossplay system can link users’ Steam and Epic accounts, combining friend lists and game invitations. It can also be updated without requiring players to patch the base game. Developers can choose which crossplay features they want to include or exclude.
Epic’s crossplay tools currently only work on their client and Steam, but they plan to support other platforms eventually. This will primarily include other PC game stores, as well as macOS and Linux. Later, Epic crossplay may appear on consoles and mobile devices. Many games already implement crossplay between all of these platforms, but this new attempt could make the feature even more common. Crossplay available on Epic Online Services SDK 1.15.
In addition, Epic has added game ratings and polls for your PC game client. Like shopping carts, this is one important feature that the company has been surprisingly slow to implement. After two hours of play, users can rate the game on a 5-point scale. Epic will also begin offering surveys to random players that ask questions about various aspects of the game, such as graphics or difficulty.
This added functionality shows that while the Epic store is still catching up with Steam in some areas, it is trying to stand out in others.