64-player parties have, for the longest time, been a PC-only feature made possible thanks to dedicated servers. Gamers who played Starsiege: Tribes and Battlefield 2 way back in the day can attest to the hectic nature of large-scale games involving dozens upon dozens of players firing their weapons and driving their vehicles everywhere.
Console gamers, restricted by peer-to-peer networking, have thus far been unable to experience such large-scale activities. For the longest time, console multiplayer games were restricted to 8 players or fewer. It’s only in the recent years that that number has increased.
Speaking to GameInformer magazine, Xbox Tech Director Mike Ybarra expressed his desire to see 64-player parties in console games. He said that the new March update for Xbox One increased party chat to 16 players, and that they plan to make that number even higher in future updates.
“It was eight six months ago, then we went to 12, now we’re at 16,” he said. “I’d love to get that to 64 because that’ll get Battlefield and games like that which do 64 vs. 64…have at it! Now, I don’t want to be in a party of 64, but that’s a different problem!”
Questioned as to why anyone would even want 64-player party chat, Ybarra said that giving players the option alone would be great. This may be especially true for large-scale MMORPGs, where having this many players in a chat at one time would be necessary for raids. It doesn’t mean that everyone’s going to be speaking at the same time.
“I like raising that–especially on the PC where a lot of our gamers use the Xbox app with non-Xbox Live games because you get free party chat,” Ybarra said. “So if you’re in World of Warcraft and you have a 20-person raid, we’re seeing a lot of people loading the Xbox app, getting into big parties as their client for how they talk and they go in.
“I want to raise that number to make sure I’m satisfying the Windows side and their needs as well. I think it’s great that they use the Xbox app with all their games for free services, free parties, free chat, things like that.”
PlayStation 4’s party chat is currently restricted to 8 users total. Given that Microsoft is making advancements on this front, it wouldn’t be too surprising if Sony follows their lead.