ID@Xbox Director Chris Charla announced that Microsoft is offering a number of new tools for developers, and within the new tools is one that will allow online multiplayer with PS4 players. He stated:
“First, 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.
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.
We’re thrilled to confirm that Psyonix’s 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, with an open invitation for other networks to participate as well”
If developers and console makers support Microsoft’s promotion of cross-network play, it will massively change the style of games in the future. Console games are currently limited to playing games available on the PlayStation Network or Xbox Live, and their buying preferences unsurprisingly depend on the platform their friends have chosen. The enabling of cross-network play will evidently be beneficial to gaming developers and manufacturers for this reason, as it will eliminate restraints that existed previously. The authorization of cross-network play between console and PC gamers is also a huge transition in the gaming world, however it involves discussions between which game developers will allow their titles to be played ‘PC vs consoles’. This will be a complex move as PC games tend to have sharper textures, higher resolution graphics and more user-made add-ons and customizations (depending on the games they play), in comparison to console gamers. Also, the mouse and keyboard can be advantages for PC gamers when playing against console gamers using gamepads for first-person shooters. This disproportion suggests that game developers will need to come up with a balance between both platforms, in order for cross-network play to be successful.
Rocket League is one of the first game titles supporting the new cross-network play feature by Microsoft, and many more are expected to follow. Microsoft has signaled that there is an “open invitation for other networks to participate as well” and it is evident that Sony’s participation is crucial to make Microsoft’s new venture beneficial, as Rocket League was only available on Sony’s console before this. It will also be beneficial move for Sony as it will be a huge progression for the gaming industry.