Destiny 2 will be released on consoles on Sept. 6. That’s next week, just in case you’re not close to a calendar at the moment. The PC version of the game won’t be released until Oct. 24.
The problem is that, at least based on the beta, the PC release is going to be the preferred version for many people. I’m not here to argue whether or not that’s right; I’m just saying it’s a fact. Some people have already made up their mind to buy the game on PC. I’m one of them, in fact.
But if Bungie and Activision wanted to make a whole lot of money while making a whole lot of fans happy, the companies would announce cross-save support between all three versions of the game. Not cross-platform play; that’s a much trickier thing. Just cross-save support.
What would this get you?
You need to create a Bungie.net account to play Destiny 2, no matter which platform you choose, and many fans are going to stick with the console version just to get those extra weeks of play in. The earlier console release is a huge argument for getting Destiny 2 on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.
So let’s say you buy that game, you play until Oct. 24 and then decide you just can’t live without playing the game in 4K resolution at 60 fps. Your choices — at this point — are pretty crappy. You can purchase the game on PC and begin again, playing the campaign and leveling up for a second time while hoping you earn comparable loot, or you just shrug and stick with the console version.
Now imagine you could pay $5 or $10 or whatever to move your save game file over to a new platform. You could argue they shouldn’t charge for this feature, but the economic incentive would at least make it more probable in the future. Heck, make it a single fee and let us access our Overwatch characters on multiple platforms as well. Why not?
We’re used to being able to access our Battle.net account from any computer, but we’re not used to the same feature being available between console and PC. For now, at least, it’s probably an addition people would be willing to pay for, and if that makes it more likely? Fine.
So you could buy a second copy of Destiny 2, access your existing character and gear, and there you go. Suddenly you can play with your friends on the console on some nights and still enjoy the company of your PC gaming friends on the weekends.
The ability to access your progress and characters on any platform would be a huge selling point for Destiny 2, and might lead a significant number of players to purchase a second copy of the game, as well as pay for the platform-agnostic save file.
Imagine you bought Destiny 2 for the PS4 and decided to upgrade your gaming PC in a year, and want to play on that platform for all the visual enhancements and mouse and keyboard support. Being able to access your original character would be a huge deal; the longer the game has been out, the more value players will find in being able to shift between platforms.
Their primary platform might change, but if they keep playing, that means they have even more invested in their items and characters. So why not give Destiny players what they want, make a bit of money on the side and allow us to move our characters from platform to platform?
I know these things are always more complicated than we would like them to be, in terms of getting the support of each platform and setting up the back end to allow this sort of data migration to occur. But I’m willing to bet these are solvable problems. Remember, we’re not talking about playing across platforms, just moving our save files over so our characters can move from console to PC, or vice versa.
It’s very likely Sony would be the trickiest obstacle in this scheme. There are exclusive items being offered for PlayStation 4 players, and being able to bring those with you to the PC could limit their value. Sony would also be concerned about losing players to the PC version, while Microsoft would likely see it as players shifting from one platform it owns, the Xbox One, to another platform it owns, Windows PC. Sony has also stopped cross-platform play from happening in the past.
So this isn’t just up to Bungie, although it would be a great way for the company to support and keep the Destiny 2 community happy. We can at least dream.