Microsoft has given developers the tools to enable cross-platform play between Xbox Live, PC, and “other console networks”.
When choosing your gaming platform, you have to consider several factors: price, exclusive games, and what the majority of your friends use. Microsoft has envisioned a future where the latter of those options is no longer an issue, with the introduction of its bold new cross-platform initative, that aims to link Xbox Live with PC, and “other console networks” (read: PSN).
“In addition to natively supporting cross-platform play between Xbox One and Windows 10 games that use Xbox Live, we’re enabling developers to support cross-network play as well,” explained Microsoft. “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.”
Microsoft clarified that this is simply an option being offered to developers: the devs themselves would have to code it into their games, and they would have to get the go ahead from the owner of those “other console networks” (read: Sony) in order to do it. It also said that Xbox Live players would always have the option to only play with other Xbox Live players.
Rocket League will be one of the first games to take advantage of this new capability by enabling cross-network play between Xbox One and PC players. Microsoft has offered “an open invitation for other networks to participate as well.”
This is potentially massive news. The ball is entirely in Sony’s court right now, as Microsoft has built this new system and put the onus on them to accept it. The upside could be a world where players of any system can play all of their games together, meaning you are no longer shoehorned into getting a console just because the majority of your friends play it. I’m excited.