It’s a very exciting time in the gaming industry. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have been around long enough that we are getting some truly great experiences out of them. Nintendo is getting ready to unveil the NX console this summer. And everything that is old is new again with Backwards Compatibility and PlayStation Now. And to top it all off Microsoft has offered an olive branch to make it so Xbox and PlayStation players could play each other.
Now let’s give credit where credit is due, both the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 had limited forms of cross-platform play. The Xbox 360 had Shadowrun, and while it wasn’t the kind of Shadowrun game I was after, it did allow for 360 players to play with PC players. The Playstation 3 had similar success with Portal 2 where you could play co-operatively with a PC player. It was all well done, seamless, and well-received.
Now though, The Xbox One gets more press time for it’s handling of PC to console gaming mainly on the backbone of Xbox’s infrastructure between the two. But some individual developers like Psyonix have made both Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 play with other PC players in Rocket League. But recently Psyonix announced that they figured out how to get the Xbox One and Playstation 4 to play with each other.
Now there’s still the concern of some political or business dealings that may block the idea from happening completely. But I sure hope it doesn’t. For a developer like Psyonix it means that what used to be a fractured set of three populations of players could all play together. For a developer that is incredible. What happens when you get a game and you can’t find a connection or enough players? If you’re anything like me you put the game away and rarely think of pulling it out afterwards. It’s in every developer’s best interest to want to pull the populations together. It will lead to a longer multiplayer shelf life of the game.
Aside from that it opens up new possibilities of match variants and competitions. Xbox vs. Playstation could be huge in titles like Battlefield or Mortal Kombat. Or for a game like The Division, I could see a PC player guiding the console gamers with an isometric view of the action and trying to better coordinate attacks. There’s a lot of possibility out there and I hope it gets fleshed out.
It’s my suspicion though that we won’t hear about what happens (good or bad) until E3. E3 is short for the Electronics Entertainment Expo held in Los Angeles in June. It’s where all the game companies come together and show what they are working on and plan to release typically over the next year. It’s also the time all forms of press converge and so it’s the perfect opportunity to make an announcement about something like Rocket League becoming cross-network playable.
Crazy how what is mostly a war waged on the forum battlegrounds might actually be raised by the talent of your gameplay. It makes for very exciting stuff. At least to me.