Despite EA reiterating at multiple occasions that cross-play is a “long term goal” across every franchise, it has been confirmed that FIFA 21 will not have cross-play of any variety. That means not only will players on Xbox and PlayStation not be able to play each other, players on PS4 and PS5 won’t be able to play each other either.
While cross progression has been confirmed, cross-play has officially been given the axe. This means if you play on PS4 then upgrade to PS5, your online stats, career mode and Ultimate Team will move with you, but you won’t be able to play against your friends who still have a PS4.
With several game delays already making buying a day one console less enticing, this is another blow to the new generation. It’s likely the PS5 and Xbox Series X will recover from whatever early stumbles they make, but that won’t make this news any better for FIFA fans.
With the FIFA 21 release date set for October 9, it could well be the last big name title to come out before the next generation debuts, but the lack of cross-play isn’t the synergetic send off many were hoping for. With a big emphasis on cross progression, not just from FIFA 21 but from many AAA titles releasing in the run up to the next gen, it seemed there had been a focus on making the transition as seamless as possible.
FIFA, one of the biggest titles and arguably the biggest draw for casual gamers, is severing that link indelibly. It’s a move which cleaves a fan base already divided by console choice in half again.
You won't be able to play across console generations or cross-play in #FIFA21.
However, you will be able to carry over your FUT progression from PS4 to PS5 and Xbox 1 to Xbox Series X. https://t.co/mUqU3zcAud
— FIFA Direct Communication (@EAFIFADirect) August 10, 2020
The official FIFA Direct Communication account confirmed the news on Twitter, which was first spotted by VG24/7.
Many other online games are expected to have cross-play, at least within console families if not across the great divide.
This puts a downer on FIFA’s co-op Ultimate Team mode, limiting the players you can co-op with, and will generally deflate a bit of the enthusiasm around the game.