Microsoft has made a big announcement that could pave the way for the future of gaming.
In a statement released on March 14, Director of ID@Xbox Chris Charla announced that cross-network play will now be enabled for games on Xbox Live.
The day an Xbox One, PS4, and PC game all play together in the same game will be a great day (I know I know…FFXI): https://t.co/pPyoogguK2
— Ryan McCaffrey (@DMC_Ryan) March 14, 2016
With the July 2015 Windows 10 release, Microsoft enabled cross-device play between Xbox One and Windows 10 via Xbox Live. Now that Microsoft has enabled cross-network play, players using Xbox Live can play with individuals on “different online multiplayer networks—including other console and PC networks.”
“Of course” Charla continues “it’s up to game developers to support this feature,” indicating that not all games will be cross-network enabled.
Microsoft also confirms that Psyonix’s “Rocket League“—a futuristic soccer-driving game—will be among the first cross-network enabled games.
Hypothetically, Xbox Live “Rocket League” players will be able to play with Sony PlayStation Network “Rocket League” players. However, this is not yet a reality. Microsoft has extended “an open invitation for other networks to participate as well,” hinting that other companies have yet to opt in.
On March 15, at the 2016 Game Developers Conference (GDC), Sony responded to a Gamespot reporter who asked a “direct question” concerning a possible joint Sony and Microsoft venture
“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. We would be happy to have the conversation with any publishers or developers who are interested in cross platform play.”
With such an ambiguous answer, it is difficult to gauge how disposed the Japanese company truly is towards working with Microsoft. However, an evasive answer is certainly more encouraging than a definitive “no.”
Perhaps this is the first step towards a world where gamers are no longer required to own the same console as their friends just to play with them online—or to even play a game on the same device they purchased it on. The console wars may soon be over.