Halo Infinite won't let you disable crossplay, but it should
Crossplay is a great feature, but it shouldn't be forced onto players.
After many years of waiting, the Halo Infinite multiplayer experience is finally here. Offering players a variety of classic Halo game modes, a delightful sandbox filled with new and returning weapons, vehicles, and equipment pieces, and snappy, addicting gunplay to master, Halo Infinite's multiplayer is nothing short of fantastic. For the first time in a decade, it finally seems like Halo has a chance to take back its place as one of the best multiplayer shooters available.
However, there is one caveat to the game that doesn't sit right with me, and it's one that's also ruining the experience for many Xbox players: the inability to disable crossplay in Halo Infinite. That's right; at the time of writing, there is no in-game setting to stop Halo Infinite's matchmaker from pairing Xbox players with users on PC. Disabling crossplay at the console level in your Xbox settings doesn't work, either.
While a subset of PC gamers will vehemently argue otherwise (controller aim assist isn't overpowered like you think it is), it's generally accepted that players using mouse and keyboard have an advantage over controller users due to the fact that mice are more precise than thumbsticks. Additionally, mice also have a much faster turn speed, allowing mouse users to react to threats much faster than controller players can. Keyboards have a notable advantage, too, as all those extra keys give players more options when it comes to control schemes. Keyboard users also have the option of using macros, which bundle a series of commands into a single input that can make performing difficult maneuvers like skill jumps easier.
It's also worth pointing out that PC players with monitors with incredibly high refresh rates have a considerable advantage against Xbox players as well. While skill is still the ultimate deciding factor in engagements, 240 or 360 FPS gameplay is objectively smoother and more fluid than the 60 or 120 FPS gameplay that Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S consoles support. In situations where two players are equally skilled, the person with a higher frame rate will be able to more precisely adjust their aim.
@343Postums @Unyshek Just matched another cheater/hacker in Halo Infinite. Guy’s gamertag is EUGENEYY on Xbox. Let me turn off cross-play until you guys can get an actual anti-cheat implemented. pic.twitter.com/G9hwahtBRK@343Postums @Unyshek Just matched another cheater/hacker in Halo Infinite. Guy’s gamertag is EUGENEYY on Xbox. Let me turn off cross-play until you guys can get an actual anti-cheat implemented. pic.twitter.com/G9hwahtBRK— Response (@jcb_response) November 26, 2021November 26, 2021
Then there's the matter of cheating, which has proven to be a growing issue in Halo Infinite's multiplayer. Evidence of players using cheats like wallhacks and aimbots has flooded the internet ever since Halo Infinite's release, and the problem is only going to get worse as time goes on until the developers are able to counter these hacking programs. The Halo Infinite cheating problem isn't the most severe one out there — that title deserves to go Call of Duty: Warzone — but it's still significant nonetheless.
To its credit, 343 Industries has promised that more anti-cheat measures are coming in the future, and I don't doubt that they'll be effective at stopping cheaters from running rampant. But the fact that Xbox players are being forced to play against these hackers right now is incredibly unfair.
The only place where Xbox players can hope to be relatively safe from cheaters right now is in the Ranked Arena playlist, as players have the option to use input-based matchmaking that only matches them with players using controllers. However, this does nothing to stop PC players that are using cheats while playing with a controller, and since this setting is exclusive to the Ranked Arena playlist, it also doesn't help players who want to avoid running into mouse and keyboard users while playing non-competitive modes like Quick Play Arena or Big Team Battle.
It's simply a bad look for Microsoft, 343 Industries, and Xbox as a whole — especially since Head of Xbox Phil Spencer originally promised that Xbox players wouldn't be forced to play against PC users several years ago. Not giving players the choice to avoid using crossplay if they don't want to is unnecessarily restrictive.
Don't get me wrong, crossplay has many benefits and is an excellent feature to have available. Being able to play with friends who are using another platform is awesome, and crossplay also helps ensure that queue times are as short as possible since the matchmaker has a wider pool of players from which to pull. But it's not something that should be forced onto players. It's something that players should be able to freely opt in or out of.
Even after Microsoft and 343 Industries nips the cheating problem in the bud, it will be important for Xbox players to be able to choose whether or not they want to play against PC players. The advantages of the PC platform are clear, and by strong-arming Xbox users into crossplay, the developers are alienating players who want as fair of an experience as possible. Halo Infinite needs an option to disable crossplay, and it needs it sooner rather than later.
Halo Infinite's multiplayer is free to play and is available on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One consoles, and Windows PCs. It's a ton of fun, and paired with the Halo Infinite campaign, it's easily one of the best Xbox games available right now.
Halo is back
Halo Infinite's multiplayer has launched a few weeks early, compiling its classic arena multiplayer modes, expanded 24-player Big Team Battle, and more into one free-to-play package.
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Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.
They should add the option to do the same on the social playlists, however.
And fix cheating, of course.
Good thing the campaign is Amazing.