For the first time in gaming history, one console manufacturer is preparing to support playing with consumers on a competing platform. Xbox Live is about to open its arms not just to PC, but also PlayStation 4 cross-platform play.
Yesterday, Director of ID@Xbox Chris Charla threw a real stunner in a letter posted to the Xbox Wire. In addition to the touted native support introduced between the Xbox One and Windows 10, Charla announced that they will be “enabling developers to support cross-network play.” Straight from the proverbial horse’s mouth:
This means players on Xbox One and Windows 10 using Xbox Live will be able to play with players on different online multiplayer networks – including other console and PC networks.
It means that in theory, you won’t have to argue with you friends about which version of big multi-platform releases like Destiny to buy. With the right developer support, you can all play together regardless of platform. Considering what’s been coming out of Microsoft recently, it’s a surprisingly consumer-centric idea. Of course, it’s “up to the game developers to support this feature,” and if for some reason you’d rather play exclusively with other Xbox Live users, that option will exist.
Rocket League will be the first — according to Charla, “one of the first” but we’ve yet to see any other announcements — to go live with the new feature. It’s starting with the obvious connection between the soccer-with-cars game’s very healthy PC community and players on the Xbox One. However, they’ve extended “an open invitation for other networks to participate as well.”
With the Xbox One lagging behind the PlayStation 4 in console sales, it makes sense for Microsoft to open their player base up to a much wider audience of fellow gamers on other platforms. They’ve also effectively put the ball in the court of major developers, while setting a new precedent to which Sony will almost have to respond. A lot of people are going to be watching to see how the Rocket League experiment goes. If successful, the budding eSports sensation will no doubt draw a wealth of imitators. Either way, this bold new feature is a win for consumers. Let’s hope it catches on.
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