Gaming Between Xbox, PS4 & PC
If you haven’t heard already Microsoft announced a huge new feature this week which blew the whole of the gaming community’s mind, and that was the release of cross-network play. Firstly what is cross-network play? Well it’s something that been hinted for years and is essentially the ability for Xbox One, PS4 and PC gamers to play the same games together online, and the reason it blew our mind was it came completely out the blue. Going into more detail what the feature will do on Microsoft’s end is simply open up the Xbox Live network to accept matchmaking with players from other networks like PS4 or PC.
However as you might have guessed it there is a problem and that is it needs support from rival companies for it to work. Currently developers who build games for Xbox One and Windows 10 will be able to support the cross-network play feature without any issues. However for cross-network play to work Microsoft will require Sony and the PC gaming industry to get involved and participate in order for games to be played across Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. Basically you could say what Microsoft have done is showed there hand, and put the ball of cross-network play in the hands of rival console makers and the PC industry in order to start the conversation and see where they stand, why? Simply everyone involved will have to cooperate for cross-network play to become a reality.
At this point you’re probably thinking Sony and the PC industry will most likely want no involvement in this at all, however you would be wrong as most of the parties involved have allowed for cross-network play on various games for some time now like Final Fantasy XIV. What’s more since this news from Microsoft was announced Sony have made a response and stated "PlayStation has been supporting cross-platform play between PC on several software titles starting with Final Fantasy 11 on PS2 and PC back in 2002.” What’s more and more importantly they state “We would be happy to have the conversation with any publishers or developers who are interested in cross platform play." To me the response from Sony shows there’s a definite interest in cross-network play and there willing to listen to developers who want it also, it’s just they didn’t state they would want to work with Microsoft.
Going back to what Microsoft are doing and their involvement in cross-network play the first title that will be supporting the new feature will be Rocket League, but were going to have to wait till E3 in June to find out about others that will follow suit. What’s more the only other thing were hearing from Microsoft on the feature is again there’s an open invitation for other networks to participate in cross network play as well, which to me hints others will lend their support to it in the future.
Finally if rival console makers and other developers do get involved and get behind Microsoft's support for cross-network play then it will change the shape of gaming industry completely, as simply gamers won’t be restricted on who they can play. More importantly from now on gamers won’t need to pick a console or a PC based on what their friends have, as cross-network play would enable gamers to play their friends regardless of whatever device they're using.
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