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Yes, Stranded Deep‘s multiplayer is 100% free – here‘s everything you need to know

If you‘re a fan of Stranded Deep, the addictive survival sandbox game from Beam Team Games, you‘ll be happy to know that multiplayer access is completely free once you own the base game!

Let me walk you through everything you need to know about playing Stranded Deep with friends across platforms.

What is Stranded Deep? A quick primer

For those new to Stranded Deep, here‘s a quick overview:

  • Genre: First-person survival/sandbox
  • Release date: 2020 (early access since 2015)
  • Developer: Beam Team Games
  • Platforms: PlayStation, Xbox, Windows PC

Stranded Deep thrusts players into a tropical archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, stranded and alone after a mysterious plane crash. Your ultimate goal is to survive the elements, wildlife, and isolation while looking for a way to escape these deserted islands.

Gameplay involves harvesting resources, crafting equipment, managing hunger/thirst, exploring underwater and on land, and avoiding deadly shark attacks. With its realistic survival mechanics and infinite procedurally generated island chain, Stranded Deep offers a tense, immersive simulation.

Since releasing in early access in 2015, the game saw a full 1.0 launch on all major platforms by 2020.

When was multiplayer added?

For years, solo play was the only option in Stranded Deep. But in September 2021, developer Beam Team Games rolled out a huge, free update that added online co-op multiplayer to Stranded Deep on consoles and PC.

This long-requested feature lets players team up together to take on the survival challenge. And again, it was added at no extra cost for existing owners.

Overview of Stranded Deep‘s multiplayer modes

Here‘s a quick rundown of the multiplayer options available in Stranded Deep as of 2023:

  • Local split-screen (consoles only): Play cooperatively on the same screen with another player on your PlayStation or Xbox. You‘ll share one island and work together.

  • Online co-op: Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC. Play together online with one other player. Voice chat enables coordination.

Both modes support a maximum of 2 players working together. You‘ll share progress on the same procedurally generated island chain.

How online co-op works: Hosting and joining games

When playing online co-op, one player hosts a game while the other joins their session. Here‘s an overview of how it works:

  • From the main menu, select "Play Online" then choose whether to host or join a friend‘s game.

  • You can send invites to friends on your platform‘s friends list or in a voice party.

  • Both players must be running the same version of the game (update if needed).

  • The host‘s world is used, including any existing progress and constructions.

  • You‘ll see your friend visually and progress together in real-time on the same islands!

  • Currently, the max number of players per online game is two.

  • Resources gathered, foods cooked, tools crafted etc. are shared between players. Coordinate to thrive!

So in summary, online play allows you to explore, build, and progress through Stranded Deep‘s survival challenges together with a friend online.

Multiplayer on consoles vs. PC – what‘s different?

Stranded Deep‘s multiplayer works very similarly whether you play on PlayStation, Xbox, or PC. But here are a few key differences between platforms:

  • PlayStation requires PS Plus – To play online co-op on PS4 or PS5, you need an active PS Plus subscription. Xbox and PC do not need memberships.

  • Voice chat – PlayStation and Xbox use their own built-in party chat systems. On PC you‘ll need Discord or a similar third-party app.

  • Split-screen – Only consoles allow local split-screen co-op on the same system. This isn‘t offered on PC.

  • No crossplay – Currently, there is no cross-platform multiplayer between PC and consoles. You can only play with friends on the same system type.

Hopefully the developers add crossplay functionality in a future update! But for now, you‘ll need to coordinate which platform to play on with your friends.

Top tips for getting started with co-op play

Ready to team up and overcome Stranded Deep‘s survival challenges with a friend? Here are my top tips:

  • Fully reinforce your raft – Unlike solo, sharks can destroy any non-armored section of your raft in multiplayer. So protect that vital lifeline!

  • Communicate constantly – From navigating to fending off sharks, coordination with your partner is key. Use voice chat often.

  • Share gathering duties – Have one player focus on food, while the other collects materials to improve gear and build shelters.

  • Stick together – It‘s easy to get separated on the massive ocean. Try to build shelters together and stay within sight.

  • Specialize your skills – One player can specialize in fishing while the other focuses on exploration or farming. Play to your strengths!

  • Pool resources – With both players gathering materials, you can quickly craft essential upgrades like oxygen tanks, weapons, and water collectors.

  • Have fun! Surviving solo is a tense experience. Enjoy the social, collaborative multiplayer – you can get further together!

Playing solo vs. co-op: Pros and cons of each

Stranded Deep can be enjoyed either solo or with a friend online. Here‘s a breakdown of the relative pros and cons of both approaches:

Solo play pros:

  • Dictate your own pace and priorities
  • No coordination needed with others
  • All resources go toward your survival
  • Potential for greater immersion and sense of isolation

Solo play cons:

  • No backup against shark attacks or exploring alone
  • Harder to gather huge amounts of materials
  • Can get lonely on deserted islands by yourself!

Co-op pros:

  • Collaboration and shared workloads
  • More fun social experience surviving together
  • Backup against deadly shark attacks
  • Less repetitive with someone to talk to

Co-op cons:

  • Have to coordinate play schedules with friends
  • Shared resources means slower individual progress
  • Can be distracting conversing versus focusing on survival
  • Currently limited to two players per game

So weighing the pros and cons, co-op multiplayer serves as an exciting complementary experience that expands the gameplay possibilities. But solo play still offers a uniquely tense, immersive survival challenge for those seeking isolation.

No cross-platform support yet

One downside is that Stranded Deep does not currently support crossplay between PC and consoles. You can only play online with friends who own the game on the same platform as you.

Hopefully Beam Team Games adds cross-platform multiplayer in a future update. But for now, you and your friends will need to coordinate which version of the game to purchase.

Is multiplayer still free in 2023?

Rest assured, Stranded Deep‘s online co-op offering remains completely free in 2023 and does not require any additional purchases or DLC. Just download the latest updates, and you can start playing together!

The multiplayer update was released in September 2021 as a major free expansion for existing owners across all platforms.

So gather some friends, coordinate which version of Stranded Deep to buy, and set sail together on the ultimate co-op survival journey for zero additional cost.

In closing

Stranded Deep‘s seamless multiplayer integration enhances the survival experience without compromising the isolated, immersive atmosphere. Exploring tropical islands and fending off sharks is far more fun (and manageable) with a trusted partner.

While crossplay between platforms isn‘t offered yet, playing online co-op or split-screen on console provides an exciting new dimension of gameplay for free.

Stay safe out there in the Pacific! And remember – teamwork is the best (and only) way to survive Stranded Deep.



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.