Any software program, particularly a Video Game, that is simultaneously developed and (usually) simultaneously released for more than one system.
Functionally, multiplatform games differ from ports in that the game was written with the other systems in mind even during initial development.
The time and effort to make a multiplatform game is not as great as some assume. Some developers have stated that it raises the cost only about 10 percent. This can vary quite a bit depending on how different the systems in question are. For instance, the XBox and PC versions of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time are quite similar; the iPhone and PS3 versions of The Force Unleashed are quite a bit different.
This really became popular with developers during the 2000s. Even though the PlayStation 2 was in the lead, games on the Xbox, GameCube, and Windows still sold well enough to ensure an even bigger profit than on the PS2 alone for very little extra development. This was even carried to the point of the wildly popular Game Boy Advance receiving "ports" of set-top titles! The fact that the Xbox and its successor are functionally small PCs running an embedded version of Windows doesn't hurt either.
With the cost of video game development being even higher with "high definition systems", this trope is more popular than ever. Series that used to be at least timed-exclusive are now going multi-platform. Nowadays, however, the priorities have shifted — as the PS3 and Xbox 360 concentrate more on graphics than the Wii, and the Wii's controls are non-standard compared to the other systems, the result is usually one version of a game for PS3 and Xbox 360, sometimes called PS360note , and another version which is released on the Wii (and occasionally on PS2 as well, hence also the term WiiS2). That said, however, graphics card technology that was state of the art at the time the Xbox 360 and the PS3 were released is actually somewhat dated now; the latest high-end graphics cards can leave them both in the dust, but only a relatively small number of games actually take full advantage of this, as developers understandably want as many potential customers as possible. Some PC gamers call this pandering to the Lowest Common Denominator, others see anything that means they can go longer between expensive hardware upgrades as a good thing.
On the PC side of things, some games are literally multiplatform, with the versions for different platforms (say, Windows, Macintosh, and Linux) all on the same physical media (sometimes called a "hybrid" release.) This is Older Than the NES in PC-land; in the days of 5.25" floppy disks, some games were released with a version for one computer (for example, the Commodore 64) on one side, and a version for another (Apple ][, IBM PC, or Atari 8-bit) on the other. Obviously, this sort of thing doesn't fly in console-land, due to dictatorial fiat console companies have over developers (possibly carried over from the days of carts, when it was physically impossible.)
Keep in mind the difference between this and a port. If a game was made for one system first, any version past that is a port or remake, like Tetris.
Releases among series that usually or previously develop for one system:
- Dark Souls, the Spiritual Successor to the PS3 exclusive Demon's Souls, launched on both the PS3 and Xbox 360 and has since been ported to the PC.
- Digimon World 4 was released for the PS2, Xbox and GameCube. The earlier titles were only for the original PlayStation, and later ones were only for the Nintendo DS.
- Final Fantasy:
- Final Fantasy XI is notable for being not only Multi-Platform, but the first MMORPG to cross the console-PC divide. It started on the PS2, got a PC version, and eventually got an Xbox 360 version by the third expansion, Treasures of Aht Urhgan.
- Final Fantasy XIII was announced for the Xbox 360 midway through development after it had been originally announced for the PS3. Initially the 360 version was slated to be released only for the overseas market, but it eventually got a release in Japan as a budget-priced "Ultimate Hits International" edition a year after the PS3 version.
- Final Fantasy XIV was released for PC and PS3 simultaneously, later getting a PS4 release. No matter which version you own, it's possible to play with anyone in the game, even if everyone's on different platforms. The game was also scheduled to be released on the Xbox 360, but Microsoft refused Square-Enix the ability to let their game have cross severs with Microsoft's own servers as well as not allowing them to have their game bypass Microsoft's Xbox Live's fees.
- Grand Theft Auto IV debuted simultaneously on the PS3 and Xbox 360. The first two GTA games were originally PC games that got ported to the original PlayStation, while Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City and San Andreas were first released on the PS2 and eventually got ported to the Xbox and PC.
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was developed for the GameCube, but the game was delayed to the point where Nintendo realized they could release it on the Wii at the same time and have a launch game for that system. This succeeded, as the combined sales of both versions have made it the second best-selling game in the series.note Breath of the Wild underwent a similar situation: development was taking much longer than anticipated, and since the Wii U was not selling well anyway, the decision was made to delay the game even further and simultaneously release it on their next platform, the Nintendo Switch. This left the Wii U in the position of being the only Nintendo home console without a unique Zelda game of its own.
- Mass Effect was originally released as an Xbox 360 exclusive in 2007, with a PC port following year. The sequel followed suit with a simultaneous Xbox 360 and PC launch in 2010, only to get a PS3 version the year after with some of the downloadable content from the previous versions already included on-disc. The third game would debut on all three aforementioned platforms (and the Wii U) in 2012, which led to the original game finally getting a PS3 port as part of a bundle with the sequels, as well as a digital download on PSN.
- Mega Man mostly stuck to Nintendo platforms during the 8-bit and 16-bit console generations, but when it came time for the blue bomber to make his 32-bit debut with Mega Man 8, the game ended up being released on both, the PlayStation and Sega Saturn. The X series would later show up on the PS and Saturn as well with Mega Man X4.note After that though, the series mostly went back to individual releases on PlayStation and Nintendo platforms (aside from a few compilations) until the release of Mega Man 9 (and later 10) as a digital download for the Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360. The upcoming Mega Man 11 is scheduled to be released on all four of the current home platforms (PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam).
- The Metal Gear Solid HD Collection (a compilation that includes Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3, as well as Peace Walker) was released simultaneously for the PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2011, despite most of the prior games up to that point having been released as PlayStation-exclusives.note It was not the first Metal Gear game announced for a multiplatform release though, as the later released Metal Gear Rising was unveiled earlier in a Microsoft conference in 2009 under the title of Metal Gear Solid: Rising. The next mainline entry in the series, Metal Gear Solid V, was initially announced only for the PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2012, but ultimately ended up being released for the PS4 and Xbox One as well in 2015 due to the game's development overlapping with the launch of the new consoles.
- The Naruto: Ultimate Ninja series was exclusive to PlayStation brand platforms for the longest time... until Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2, which was released for the Xbox 360 in addition to the PS3. Every new entry in the series since then had been released for both platforms.
- The 2004 Recycled Title version of Ninja Gaiden was originally released exclusively for the original Xbox due to director Tom Itagaki's preference for Microsoft's platform over the competing PS2, with its sequel Ninja Gaiden II being released four years later on the succeeding Xbox 360. Both games eventually got ported to the PS3 as Ninja Gaiden Σ and Ninja Gaiden Σ2 respectively under a different director and with several changes made to get around Microsoft's exclusivity clause. When it came for Team Ninja to develop Ninja Gaiden III without Itagaki's direction, they made the PS3 version alongside its Xbox 360 counterpart from the get-go.
- Persona 5 was released simultaneously for the PS4 and PS3, narrowly missing out on the latter.
- The first two Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games (though technically different games, were the same in almost every way) were released for the GBA and the DS.
- Resident Evil 5 was released on the PS3 and Xbox 360 simultaneously, making it the first installment in the series to debut on two platforms, although all the prior mainline entries had ports on other platforms after their initial release, including the ones that were supposed to be exclusives such as Resident Evil – Code: Veronica (originally on Dreamcast) and Resident Evil 4 (originally on GameCube).note
- Rune Factory: Tides of Destiny is the only Rune Factory game to be multi-platform (on the Wii and the PS3; previous titles had been for the DS or Wii only) and the first Harvest Moon or Rune Factory to have a simultaneous multi-platform release.
- Ryu Ga Gotoku Ishin, a feudal-themed spinoff of the Yakuza series, was produced during a console generation transition and ended up being released as a launch title for PS4 in addition to the PS3, although both versions ended up being released only in Japan (similar to the previous period-themed title in the series, Ryu Ga Gotoku Kenzan!, which launched the series on the PS3). Yakuza 0 and Kiwami (a prequel and remake to the original Yakuza respectively) both got dual releases on the PS3 and PS4 in Japan, but only the PS4 versions of the two games ended up being localized in English.
- Shadow Complex was originally an Xbox 360-exclusive download title, but its remastered re-release is available for Xbox One, PS4, and PC.
- The console releases of Street Fighter II have somewhat of a competitive history to them. The first entry in the series, Street Fighter II: The World Warrior, ended up being released exclusively on the Super NES, giving the console a much needed boost in sales during a period when it was struggling to keep up with the Sega Genesis. However, the next iteration, Street Fighter II: Champion Edition ended up being announced for the Genesis a year later (alongside a PC Engine version that ended up being exclusive to Japan) after Capcom became an official third-party company for Sega. Nintendo, not wanting to be left behind, commissioned Capcom to develop the SNES-exclusive Street Fighter II Turbo, which included not only Champion Edition, but also Hyper Fighting (the third entry). As a result, Sega demanded Capcom to implement a Hyper Fighting mode into their own version of the game and their port ended up being rebranded Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition to indicate the additional content. The fourth entry, Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers ended up being released on both, the SNES and Genesis, at the same time and from the 32-bit era and onward, home releases of Street Fighter games were usually released on multiple consoles, aside from a few outliers (e.g. Super Turbo on 3DO, the EX series on PlayStation consoles, Double Impact on Dreamcast).
- Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U became the first installment in the Smash series to be released for two different systems, namely the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U.
- Tekken 6 was exempt from the series' Sony leash and allowed to be released on the Xbox 360 as well as the PS3.
- The Witcher 3 launched simultaneously on PC, PS4 and Xbox One, despite the first two Witcher games being strictly for PC (although The Witcher 2 did saw an Xbox 360 port a year after its release).
Titles or series notable for being Multi-Platform:
- Most licensed games
- Another World
- Anarchy Reigns
- Asura's Wrath
- Call of Duty
- Dragon Age
- The Elder Scrolls, starting with Morrowind
- Guitar Hero
- LEGO Adaptation Game
- Lollipop Chainsaw
- Madden NFL
- Medal of Honor
- Mortal Kombat
- Naev, an open-source freeware game available for PC, Mac, and most Linux distros.
- NBA Jam
- Need for Speed
- Nobunaga's Ambition (but only in Japan)
- Rock Band
- Romance of the Three Kingdoms (but sometimes only in Japan)
- Sonic the Hedgehog, after Sega's hardware division imploded.
- Pillars of Eternity, a Kickstarter-funded RPG by Obsidian that will be compatible with PC, Mac, and Linux, and released on both GOG and Steam.
- Puyo Puyo, even before Sega's hardware division imploded.
- Rick Dangerous was developed concurrently for all major British computers (except for the Acorn Archimedes, which received a port several years later), as well as its sequel. Though the Atari ST and Amiga were the lead platforms, the screen width was deliberately limited the ZX Spectrum's lower resolution and the character sprites were sized to fit the Commodore 64.
- Rise of the Robots
- Temple of Apshai
- Time Shift
- Tomb Raider
- Many Ubisoft properties:
- Assassin's Creed
- Beyond Good & Evil
- Prince of Persia
- Tom Clancy games like Splinter Cell and Rainbow Six. Some from around the turn of the seventh generation were notable for having one version for the next-gen consoles and a different one for the previous-gen. Particularly Splinter Cell: Double Agent, which had "Version One" for the next-gen consoles and PC, and a "Version Two" for previous-gen consoles.
- Most Blizzard titles.
- The Humble Indie Bundle releases have all been on Mac, PC, and Linux, and the most recent Bundles have added Android to the list.