When I first bought Stardew Valley, it was for the Nintendo Switch. I had an absolute blast playing the game, sinking well over 200 hours into the game through multiple playthroughs. Completely enamored with the game, I begged my friends to try it out, hoping they would love this quaint little farming sim as much as I do.
Eventually, I convinced one of my friends to get Stardew Valley, and she too fell in love. The two of us poured countless hours into the game before discovering the multiplayer functionality.
Excited by the prospect, we both partnered to start a farm together. She is an avid PC gamer and predictably bought hers for PC. Finally, the hour arrived, and we both hopped on Discord before arriving at the dreaded question; does Stardew Valley even support cross-platform play?
Bottom Line Upfront:
Although Stardew Valley supports multiplayer, the game does not currently support cross-platform play. Although, Stardew does support play between macOS and Windows!
Stardew Valley also doesn’t support cross-save play unless you’re bold enough to try and transfer save files between your computer and your phone. Unfortunately, consoles don’t have the same ability to access and transfer files.
What is Cross Platform Play?
Also known as cross-compatible play and crossplay, cross-platforming is a game’s ability for people to play a game together while playing on differing types of gaming hardware. Usually, it references playing on different consoles together, but as PC gaming has grown more popular, it enters the mix of cross-platforming.
However, there are some difficulties when integrating cross-platform play into games. While it is feasible, there are a few barriers – mainly control schemes differing based on your hardware and closed online services like Nintendo Switch Online.
Regarding control schemes, PC users generally have a distinct advantage over console users. Keyboard and mouse controls offer a benefit that can not be remedied quickly, as you can have a faster reaction and action time without joysticks.
For closed network online services, cross-platform play requires convincing a business to open up its online service. For those who own the Switch or the Playstation 4, this can be a problem. Even if control schemes are not the biggest problem in this cozy farming game, the closed online services are.
Any Hopes for Stardew?
Although many fans wish Stardew Valley supported cross-platform play, the unfortunate answer is that we will likely never be able to see that dream come to fruition. ConcernedApe confirmed on Twitter in 2018 that the technical barriers were too high to implement into the game, even though he wants to add it in.
Still, ConcernedApe’s hope that cross-platform play might eventually become a more feasible and accessible possibility means all hope is not lost. One day, our dreams of playing on the Nintendo Switch while our friends play on PC will be fulfilled. Until then, Stardew Valley multiplayer is an option for those who want to play with friends.
So Cross-Play is Not in the Base Game… But What About Mods?
Despite how much I have searched and stewed on this problem, no mods currently exist to enable Stardew Valley cross-platform play. The problem is that cross-platform crosses through security, especially for closed network online play.
To mod the game to allow for cross-platform play, you’d need to be able to breach the security of these companies and allow your mod to work on their network. I doubt companies like Nintendo will allow this to happen any time soon.
Besides that minor problem, an even bigger one arises – you can only mod your game on PC and Android. Although I have my game modded on both PC and Android now, back when I wanted to play with my friend from my Switch, that just wouldn’t have been a possibility.
The Steamdeck offers modding, but considering it is a reasonably new console, it doesn’t seem likely that anyone will try and mod stardew for cross-platform play. Aside from that, you can already play Stardew multiplayer online with your friends, regardless of if one of you uses Mac and the other uses Windows.
Where Is Stardew Valley Multiplayer Supported?
Stardew Valley Multiplayer is available on every hardware except mobile and the PSVita, but online multiplayer is only available for a select few hardware. For consoles, a paid online play subscription is probably required for someone on the same console to work on your farm (or you on theirs).
Paid Online Service and Free Online Multiplayer
More and more companies require you to use a paid service to access online play. For Nintendo Switch, you would need Nintendo Switch Online to play Stardew across different consoles with your friends.
For the PlayStation 4, you will likely need the subscription service from Sony, Playstation Plus. For Xbox, it is more than likely that you will need an Xbox Live Gold subscription to play with your fellow Xbox Stardew Valley friends. For macOS and Windows, you fortunately only need to buy the game to play with your PC friends.
Split Screen Play
I can’t justify the price of paying for an online multiplayer service most of the time. I do not play enough online multiplayer games for me to feel like it’s worth it. For some, that price means when being able to play with your friends is concerned, but when you’re broke, that price suddenly becomes steeper.
However, this doesn’t mean that full-time or occasional console players have to skip Stardew Valley multiplayer. Split-Screen play, although not online, provides plenty of opportunities for you to play with your friends and family. This option became available for console users with the 1.5 update.
Question: Does Stardew Valley Support Cross-Platform Saves?
Answer: This answer is a no, sadly (at least for consoles!). Cross-saves require that you have a similar account across your devices – for example, being able to play a game on your phone and then have the data move over to your tablet easily.
If you play on an iPhone and PC or Mac, then I have great news for you – it is possible to transfer your saved data between the two! Your files might not work right if you use mods, but if you play vanilla Stardew, you should be fine. Although all it requires is moving some saved data and files around while your phone is synced to your computer, I recommend looking up a tutorial.
Question: So Stardew Valley isn’t Cross-Platform (yet)… but What About the Haunted Chocolatier?
Answer: It’s important to remember that, while ConcernedApe is also developing the Haunted Chocolatier, it is only planning to release on PC right now, which means that no, cross platforming will not be integrated into the game immediately. It isn’t currently scheduled to be released on other platforms.
But that doesn’t mean giving up now. As the game furthers into development, more updates will be given, and, assuming it has similar success to Stardew Valley, it’s likely that the Haunted Chocolatier will end up on console as well.
Question: If I am the Hosting Account for Multiplayer, can People still Work on the Farm if I’m Not Online?
Answer: No, unfortunately. As the landowner, your farmhands (friends) can only work on the farm if you are online in vanilla Stardew Valley.
However, there is the Always On Server for Multiplayer mod that makes it so your friends can work on your farm without you needing to actively play the game or go to bed every 10 minutes. However, this mod requires that you do not close your game or minimize it – but you can open up other windows on top of your game!
Is Stardew Valley Cross Platform: Final Thoughts
So, after a bit of searching, my friend and I came to the sad realization that you cannot play Stardew Valley cross-platform, likely as you have now learned. But that didn’t stop me from still wanting to play with her. After testing the specs on my laptop a bit, I determined that I could play Stardew Valley just fine on it.
So, I bought the game through Steam, and now we regularly play when we have the time. I hope cross-platform play will be an integral part of Stardew, mainly because the disadvantage with control schemes is not a problem.
Regardless, that day is a long way off, especially with so many consoles demanding you pay to play online. But maybe one day, we’ll all get to play together, regardless of our preferred platform.