Rocket League, the popular physics-based vehicular soccer game, is breaking barriers in more ways than one.
Recently, Microsoft announced that gamers on Xbox Live through their PCs or Xbox One consoles could soon be able to play games online with users on other networks such as Steam and the PlayStation Network. Rocket League is being tapped as the first game that will support such a feature, which would take the game's popularity to greater heights.
In a letter by ID@Xbox Director Chris Charla posted online, Charla stated that Microsoft is now allowing game developers to support cross-network play. Of course, it is up to the game developers to include the feature in their projects, and it is Rocket League developer Psyonix being the first one to step up to the plate to try out cross-platform gaming.
While the intention of connecting with the PlayStation Network is not blatantly said, the possibility is definitely the most exciting for the new feature.
"To say that the team here at Psyonix is both honored and excited to have Rocket League as the first cross-network game is a massive understatement," the company wrote, adding that the feature is actually the most requested one in the Rocket League community.
Why Only Now, Microsoft?
It has been over a decade since Microsoft launched Xbox Live and almost a decade since Sony's PlayStation Network went online. Why is Microsoft only now opening up the possibility of connecting the two gaming networks?
The decision could have been spurred by the technical advancements in the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, which would allow for such a feature to be supported. However, the move is largely business-related for Microsoft, which has seen the initial dominance of the Xbox and Xbox Live overtaken by Sony's PlayStation and the PlayStation Network.
The PlayStation 4 is now in almost twice as many homes compared to the Xbox One, with Microsoft's console only rarely beating Sony's in terms of sales. Customers looking to buy a console would be swayed to purchase one that will be the same with their friends so that they could play together in online gaming networks, and chances are, that console would be the PlayStation 4.
With Microsoft's support for cross-platform play, the Xbox One could become more inviting for customers, as they would be able to gain access to Xbox exclusives such as the Halo series while also being able to play games such as the Call of Duty franchise with friends that own the PlayStation 4.
The move also fits in nicely with the new direction that Microsoft is taking under CEO Satya Nadella, as the company is diving deeper into other platforms such as Android and iOS instead of focusing only on its own Windows ecosystem.
Implications On The Future Of Video Games
If Sony follows Microsoft's example and likewise opens up to cross-platform gaming, the social cost of purchasing the "wrong" video game console will be drastically reduced, as friends can play online with each other for games no matter which platform they are on.
In addition, cross-platform play would further elevate the popularity of titles such as Destiny, as players on both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 can join together in online games.