These days I play a game or two of Fall Guys, and along the way, I test how the game runs on PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, or laptop via local stream. And the best thing about it is that I don't have to worry about recorded game positions.
Fall Guys supports the cross-progression option just like Fortnite and Rocket League, which means that all the progress made in the games is tied to the Epic account. Everything is automatically synced to whatever you're playing the game on and ready for you wherever you play.
From today's perspective, I find it somewhat unusual that such a thing did not exist more than ten years ago.
You wouldn't believe it, but one of the earliest concepts of the cross-progression system is attributed to Hideo Kojima Back in 2011. Kojima envisioned a system for his Metal Gear Solid HD collection that he somewhat loosely called Transfarring.
In short, it allowed recorded positions to be easily synced between PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable/Vita consoles. As the whole thing was presented through a sketch by the Mega64 group, many players thought it was some joke. But Transfarring was real!
The concept of "transfarring" was still limited to one ecosystem of the
PlayStation platform, but it did bring a shift in the system of recording
progress in the game. Care about the recorded positions should not be on the
player anyway, and the idea was that the player simply does not have to think
about where his game data is stored.
Years earlier, when consoles did not yet have a separate memory to store recorded positions, game progress was recorded using codes. Today it sounds absurd, but when you passed a level, you got a code that you write down on a piece of paper, and then when you restart, you have to enter that code to continue where you left off.
Writing down the code, and just typing it in today is a hassle that no one has time for, except that we still remember "codes" and type them in - like passwords to log in to the account where our progress in the game is saved.
As much as the cross-progression system is a shift in the position storage
system, it cannot be completely called a true revolution. Maybe we don't have
to think about where our game progress is saved, but for that to work, each
game needs to have its separate account.
In the case of Epic Games, it's one shared account for Fortnite, Rocket League, and Fall Guys. But for the cross-progression system in Call of Duty, you will need a separate account with Activision for Apex Legends, you will need, an account with Electronic Arts, etc.
They don't even have to be multiplayer games – if you want the cross-progression system in games like Civilization 6 or Divinity: Original Sin
you'll need two additional accounts.
Is the convenience of accessing recorded positions practical if the player has
to have X different user accounts for it? I'm not sure it is. And of course, I
don't have a concrete alternative for that.
But I think a better system must exist, somewhere in some concept or idea. Perhaps the solution is for platforms like Steam, Epic, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo, and PlayStation to lend a hand and make it as easy as possible to connect different accounts.
For example, by logging in to a PSN account, I automatically access all other accounts connected to that account. I know that there is also the issue of security and that it is risky to tie dozens of others to one account, but I think that the situation with X different accounts to play X different games will become less and less practical for the user.
Who knows - maybe the solution will be physical again, as we once had memory cards that were used to store recorded positions.
Maybe in the future, we will simply have some kind of memory card on which all gamer accounts are stored, and they are unlocked and synchronized by scanning a fingerprint.
It may sound like some kind of sci-fi scenario, but with mobile phones, we are already on the threshold of that - just still with a slightly less automated process.