Pinball FX2 will launch July 31 on Xbox One, and just about every table in the long-running series will be available on day one, developer Zen Studios says. But it will not have cross-buy support.
That means whatever tables someone bought for the game on Xbox 360 will not be available to them if they have an Xbox One. They will have to buy separate copies to play on that platform. Zen's pinball titles for PlayStation (3, 4 and Vita) and iOS do support cross-platform compatibility.
Zen, well aware this news overshadows the announcement of Pinball FX2's Xbox One launch, had detailed remarks prepared for fans.
"We began working on Pinball FX2 for Xbox One near the end of 2013 and cross-platform entitlement was the biggest discussion point with Microsoft," Mel Kirk, Zen's vice president of publishing, said in a statement given to Polygon. "At that time, there were technical limitations and policy restrictions that prevented us from allowing cross-platform entitlements."
Kirk said Zen noticed there have been developments on cross-platform compatibility, particularly with regard to Harmonix's Dance Central Spotlight, in which songs downloaded in the series on Xbox 360 will be available when Dance Central Spotlight launches in September. "These are fairly new developments and we are asking if we can offer the same."
Polygon reached out to a Microsoft representative to ask if the limitation facing cross-platform compatibility was in the hardware itself, the Xbox Live Marketplace or something else. This story will be updated with any response.
Update: A Microsoft spokesman replied that "with Xbox One, you are able to transfer add-on content from Xbox 360 to Xbox One for certain titles. We are working with Zen Studios to bring this feature to Pinball FX 2."
Fans have taken to forums hosted by Zen and Microsoft to register their disappointment. "As a fan of the Pinball FX series, I feel incredibly cheated that the tables I bought on the Xbox platform will not be cross compatible whereas if I invested in the game on the PlayStation or iOS ecosystem, I would have been able to keep the same tables in my library," wrote one.
Kirk said cross-platform functionality "is one of the main factors that has given the franchise such a long and successful life," and noted that "our fans rightly like to have their collections in one place on their system of choice."
"Know that voices are being heard and we have the ear of Microsoft," he said, adding that if Microsoft greenlights cross-platform support for Pinball FX2 on Xbox One and Xbox 360, "we will do it in a heartbeat."
Pinball FX2 arrives July 31 and one table — Zen original Sorcerer's Lair (pictured above, for Xbox 360) — will be free to everyone. Much of the remainder of the Pinball FX2 series, including the Star Wars Pinball series and the Marvel Pinball tables will be available for purchase on launch day.
A news release from Zen noted that Pinball FX2 for Xbox One will perform at 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second, and that the game will feature worldwide tournaments, new achievements and "a slick new menu interface."
The Walking Dead, Zen's next table, will also be available on Xbox One when it launches later this summer. There still is no specific release date for that table.
The tables that have released on Xbox 360 but are not available at launch for Xbox One — though Zen says it is working to bring them to Xbox One later — are:
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