FIFA has long been destined for cross-play support, but for some reason, EA has been very reluctant to do it.
It seems almost every game is supporting it, with Call of Duty now supporting cross-generational support.
What's the latest status on cross-play in FIFA 21?
Will FIFA 21 Have Cross-Play?
The simple answer is that we do not know. There's a lot of evidence that suggests it could happen and a lot that suggests it couldn't.
Recently, Need For Speed Heat implemented cross-platform play - the first EA game to do so.
Plenty of rumours have popped up about Apex Legends allowing cross-play, EA's flagship battle royale title.
To date though, the game doesn't support cross-play - but it has been discussed by Respawn's general manager Dusty Welch and game director Chad Grenier:
“I think on crossplay we see it’s something that is kind of expected in the industry and is important to a game like ours,” says Welch.
It's not the first time cross-play has been discussed, either. Last year, the game's design director Mackey McCandlish had the following to say in an interview with VG247
“Cross-play is definitely an opportunity; it’s not something at launch.”
“It’s definitely something we’re aware of and interested in. I can’t speak to whether or not we’ve had specific conversations. Right now it’s just like: ‘Let’s launch the game’.”
It's not quite the hurdle that EA has overcome and that's most likely down to one overarching reason - money.
It's no doubt going to cost EA plenty of money to setup cross-play to ensure it's safe, secure and reliable. While the details are out of my area of expertise, I can imagine it can't be cheap.
There's also the fact that both Microsoft and Sony pay a lot to license the game on their respective consoles. EA will also heavily benefit from the PC crowd using Origin to play and buy their game.
While it no doubt makes up a small factor, EA can also capitalise on those who own both consoles and will buy the game twice to play with different sets of friends.
You would also need to consider game modes such as FUT will experience stability issues with a market place that sees over 1 million live items listed at any one time on a single platform.
Will FIFA 21 Be Cross-Generation?
The game's not set to launch on the PS5 and Xbox Series X, but it will arrive at some point.
Progress will transfer over from the Xbox One to Xbox Series X (and vice versa) as it did when players transitioned from the Xbox 360 to Xbox One - the same can be said for the PS4 and PS5.
But gameplay will be limited to the same console. The same marketplace in FUT 21 will be used for both Xbox consoles and PlayStation consoles, but gameplay will be console specific.
During EA Play 2020, EA confirmed that players that buy the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One versions of FIFA 21 before the arrival of FIFA 22 will get the corresponding next-gen version.
EA's other big sports game, Madden 21, is offering the same deal.
Wondering what the new consoles will offer? PS5 players can enjoy haptic feedback from the Dualsense controller, while both consoles will offer "blazing fast load times", better lighting and more realistic players and animations, and "contextual player, bench and fan reactions that let you feel the explosive passion of a last-minute winner".