Is this what many of us have been waiting for? The ability to play games against people on other consoles, is something I have certainly wanted for some time. for generations we have been buying multiple consoles as well as having a desktop PC. Not a real problem, if people want and can afford multiple consoles then there is no reason not to have them. The real pain though is having to buy the same game for all of them so that you can play with friends on each type of console. This announcement could potentially make this a thing of the past.
Microsoft made an official announcement that it would be making changes to the framework of Xbox Live to allow developers to enable cross platform gaming with any other multiplayer online network. Now the first game to have already been made available is Rocket League. The cross platform here will be with Steam on the PC and not with Sony and the PlayStation Network. However I think its easy to see that the offer of cross platform gaming to all multiplayer networks was direct offer to Sony.
Sony was asked the question whether it would be open to this deal its response was left a little indecisive. They stated that the PlayStation Network has been supporting cross network play between the PlayStaton and the PC for some time and that they would be happy to enter into discussions with any publishers and developers interested in cross platform play. They stopped short of mentioning Microsoft or Xbox Live, but they also did not shut the door on the idea. My guess is that they are working out the effect it will have on there business.
Why do Microsoft want to initiate this idea now? after all the console wars have been going on for ages and they have never accepted the idea of cross platform play before. The obvious thoughts would be that the Xbox One has been out sold in many markets by the PS4 and they need a way to get the customers on side again. This alone probably wont do it, but picture the scenario. The PS4 is out selling the Xbox One, groups of friends are playing online games and someone wants to buy a new console to play the games, the chances are that their friends own PS4’s. Even if that person would rather buy an Xbox one the chances are they will still buy the PS4 because they want to play with their friends online. So you buy opening up cross network play Microsoft can create a few more sales, or more accurately slow down the loss of sales to Sony.
So why would Sony accept this knowing they are in the driving seat? Well they certainly don’t have to, as we said they are in charge as it stands, more sales more subscribers, however by dismissing this option they are risking losing customers anyway by denying a service that is available. It will be seen as a business decision that has no actual benefits for its customers, it will be purely financial which doesn’t always go down very well with the end user. So its a bit of sticky situation for Sony, purposely it Seems created by Microsoft.
Away from the business side of things though its only good news that this has been brought to forefront of gaming. Its about time that gamers could play against each other without their choice of console restricting which friends they can play with. Those that would normally spend extra money on a second console would be able to spend that money on more games. Better for the overall games market. After all is said and done I hope this actually comes to fruition, it will certainly make my gaming life easier and allow me to play with who i want when I want.