Wonderlands Crossplay is still so ruined that I just bought another Xbox

A screenshot of Tiny Tina from Borderlands with a white Xbox Series S console in hand.

Picture: Gearbox / Xbox / Kotaku

Little Tina’s Wonderland was released on March 25th. At launch, the game suffered from several server issues and delay issues. Eventually, much of it was fixed. But 38 days later, cross-country gaming is still a mess. And then, tired of waiting for the crossplay issues to be resolved, I finally just bought another Xbox console so my fiance and I could play together. This solved our problem, but it also emphasizes that uh …Wonderland (and other games) should ultimately function as advertised after release.

While I know some, including people here on Kotakudislike Border areas series, my fiance and I have fun playing the games together. Of course, the writing is sometimes creepy, and the story lines don’t always land. But there are not many big, open-world loot-shooters with simple drop-in, drop-out co-op that are not also tied to a live-service model and that we can play casually together. So Border areas– and now its latest spin-off, Little Tinas Wonderland-is something we both enjoy and are happy about. (And if you actually play the games, you will see that there is more to them than “lol MEMEZ.”)

When it was announced Wonderland wanted crossplay, we were both excited. I could play on my PC and she could play on my Xbox Series X in my office. It was a beautiful dream, a simple and easy solution. Co-op with our own screens that did not require party chat or a living room TV.

Read more: Little Tina’s Wonderland Players pissed over ‘short’ DLC

But unfortunately, crossplay has been a mess since Wonderlands launched. For the first week or two, we could not play together at all, as Gearbox’s Shift servers seemed to be constantly failing. We also had trouble sending and receiving invitations. Eventually, Gearbox’s rigging got things to a point where we could play together, but every time we did, a player would limp constantly, making the game almost unplayable for them. By looking online, it became clear that not everyone has had the same problems, but many players who tried crossplay between Xbox and PC were (and still is) suffers from all sorts of online annoyances.

Finally, I took matters into my own hands and purchased an Xbox Series S at our local Target last week. Given that these consoles have become quite easy to grab and have a lower price, this ended up being a viable solution to our problems. And now we’ve been playing for hours Wonderland without problems at all.

Still, I know many people out there do not have the space or money to just go out and buy a new console. It’s not me who gives players a hint of “Broken crossplay? Buy a new console!” It is rather a tale of how, even as crossplay becomes an expected and standard featureit’s still far from perfect or easy to make work, even in new, modern games.

I also think that as games continue to rely more and more on the internet and connections to servers, it’s getting harder and harder to ignore how awful most online game launches are. Weeks or months of players waiting and hoping that things will be sorted out so that they can finally play the game they have already purchased is not an acceptable norm. If our future is online and connected to other platforms and consoles, great. But hopefully, developers and publishers will be willing to spend the money, time, and resources needed to make sure these things actually work. Otherwise, the future will be even more annoying and frustrating for many people.