June 9th is the day Need for Speed Heat received its final update. The fact that it is the last update for the title is one thing, but there’s another reason it is especially noteworthy: this update will make Need for Speed Heat the first cross-play compatible game in the repertoire of Electronic Arts. Now players of the title will be able to play together whether they are on PC, Xbox, or PlayStation.
The patch notes detail that this cross-play functionality won’t be mandatory for everyone. Once players get the update, they will be asked whether or not they want to opt-in to the new cross-play feature. If you agree, you’ll be able to play with people that are on other platforms than your own. The addition of an EA Friends tab will also allow you to see which of your friends are online across all the different services. Other new features included alongside the cross-play functionality is proximity chat and an identification system that will let you see which platforms different players are using.
This cross-play will support both Origin and Steam versions of the game. The Steam version was one of the many EA titles that made it to that storefront in the past week, so it’s pretty likely that it got a new influx of PC players recently. That said, it sure is a good thing that the cross-play will support both versions of the game. For EA Access and Origin Access subscribers will be able to play the game for free once it is added to the vault on June 16th. Naturally, that makes now a very good time for such an update and such functionality to be added to the game.
On the other hand, this update is the final one for the game, which is a little sad. The reason for this being the final update is because Criterion is turning their attention to the next Need for Speed game, though of course, there’s no real information on that.
While this marks the first EA game to get cross-play support, there’s no word on any other EA titles getting the same treatment. That includes popular titles like Battlefield V and Apex Legends, so don’t expect to be playing those titles with other platforms anytime soon.
That said, hopefully, this is a sign of things to come, as cross-play functionality is a feature that many people are looking for in games these days. And since EA was clearly capable of doing it with Need for Speed Heat, surely, they could do the same thing for other games as well. With such functionality being the hopeful future of gaming, there’s no reason to steer clear of it unless games are platform-exclusive titles. At the very least, perhaps the next Need for Speed game will have cross-platform play at launch, rather than us having to wait until the final update.