When Microsoft’s Xbox One debuts this fall or winter, users will be able to play along an unprecedented eight number of players on their console.
Instead of a formal announcement of the news, the ability to connect eight controllers to the Xbox One surfaced on the product detail page for the Xbox One controller on the Xbox website. While Microsoft is noting that users will be able to connect eight controllers at once, what type of play environment that number of controllers would complement is still unknown.
That’s because hardware and software support for 8 controllers can only get users so far. Just as with the Xbox 360’s ecosystem, the Xbox One’s gaming experience will be, for the most part, decided by developers, since it’s their games that will actually need to support all eight controllers. Unfortunately, as online multiplayer gaming has expanded, game developers have placed less of an emphasis on providing multiplayer experiences for more than two people sitting in one room. For example, while the Xbox 360 can support up to four controllers at one time, even Microsoft’s Halo 4 restricts all of its playing experiences to just two players. More than two players can join the experience, but they’ll need to do so from another Xbox.
It’s less likely that the overwhelming majority of hardcore Xbox One games will actually include support for games with eight players, than it is that some game franchises (like the party game SceneIt) will allow up to eight users to simply buzz in to answer trivia questions.
For their part, Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida took to Twitter to confirm that its upcoming PlayStation 4 gaming console will allow up to four controllers to connect to the console at any given time. Just like the Xbox 360 and the Xbox One, it’s unlikely that PlayStation 4 users will find many games that support four users playing action games on one television set.
So far, Microsoft has remained quiet about exactly when Xbox One users can expect the device to be available in stories, opting to only say that the console will launch in time for the holiday shopping season. Sony will launch the PlayStation 4 on November 14th.