Microsoft to open the gates to cross-platform play between XBox One and PS4 players

Microsoft has announced something that seemed like it would never happen ... cross-network play! The tech giant has teased this feature for a long time, and has now taken the first tentative steps to make it happen. The new feature will allow Xbox One, and Windows 10 gamers using Xbox Live, to play with other gamers on different online multiplayer networks - including PlayStation and other console and PC networks.

For years, console gamers have been restricted to the closed ecosystem of the PlayStation Network or Xbox Live, which meant that a lot of gamers would end up buying the same console that most of their friends have purchased. With cross-network play however, online multiplayer gaming will be opened up across multiple different platforms, thus changing the future of console gaming as well as console-buying habits.

Chris Charla, the director of ID@Xbox, made the announcement via the XBox Wire blog:

"First, in addition to natively supporting cross-platform play between Xbox One and Windows 10 games that use Xbox Live, we’re enabling developers to support cross-network play as well. This means players on Xbox One and Windows 10 using Xbox Live will be able to play with players on different online multiplayer networks – including other console and PC networks."

"Of course, it’s up to game developers to support this feature, and Xbox Live players will always have the option of choosing to play only with other Xbox Live players. We’re thrilled to confirm that Psyonix’s Rocket League will be one of the first games to take advantage of this new capability by enabling cross-network play between Xbox One and PC players, with an open invitation for other networks to participate as well."

Psyonix, the development studio behind the hugely popular Rocket League game, also announced that it will be among the first to make use of this new functionality, and will release an update later this Spring, enabling cross-platform multiplayer gaming between PC and Xbox One players. Furthermore, the developer teases information regarding other platforms soon.

"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. Cross-network play has been the number-one most requested feature our community has asked for since Rocket League was first announced on Xbox One, and now that we are able to pursue complete online unity on all platforms, today’s announcement is a dream come true," Psyonix wrote in a post.

Microsoft has taken that important first step in changing its closed ecosystem to allow cross-network play, but now the pressure is on the other network players – Sony in particular – to step-up and change their own stance to ensure that gamers can play with their friends no matter what platform they choose.