Rocket League making push for full cross-network play between XB1 and PS4

Posted March 15th, 2016 at 9:30 am

Rocket League

Is it not enough that Rocket League is a fantastic game with unparalleled support that, due to its incredible success, will likely influence the types of games made going forward? There’s now the possibility it could be the catalyst for getting the long-awaited and highly-desired ability for those on different consoles to play the same game together online.

In an announcement yesterday developer Psyonix revealed that the Xbox One will be getting cross-platform play with PC this spring. That’s no surprise given that the PlayStation 4 and PC versions of the game have had that ability since they launched last July. The more interesting development followed with the vague comment that “information regarding other platforms” would be coming soon and a policy change from Microsoft. 

The comment from Psyonix hints at the possibility of cross-network play between all three platforms, that would see a shared online user base that includes those on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. There’s really no other way to interpret that. Additionally, the Rocket League account retweeted an article explicitly calling it the “first step towards Xbox vs Playstation gaming.”

It’s believed that the party blocking this from happening in the past was Microsoft. It makes some sense given that they had the sales advantage last generation, and the company in that position has little reason to potentially bolster the case for the competing console to be purchased. If friends can play together regardless of console the main purchasing factor is simplified down to preferences in first party exclusives.

Now though it’s Sony in the sales lead so it appears they’ll be the ones making the final decision. It falls on them because Microsoft had an announcement of their own yesterday, that they are “enabling developers to support cross-network play…including other console and PC networks” and that they are presenting an “open invitation for other networks” to get involved.

It would be a huge win for consumers if cross-network play actually materializes. Even if it does there’s no guarantee that EA Sports or 2K Sports games would utilize the functionality. It’s more likely to be experimented with by independent developers who need to combine online user bases to keep their games active. Publishers would have the opportunity to make a decision on it though, and that’s much better than not even having the option to consider it at all.