Rocket League was recently tapped to be one of the first games to support “cross-network” play on Xbox Live. What that means, basically, is that Rocket Leaguers on Windows 10 and Xbox One hardware will, once it goes live, be able to take on players on “other consoles and PC networks.” Cross-platform play with PS4 players is already possible from the PC version, but filling it out to include Xbox One players is a nice prospect.
It’s a dream that Valve honcho Gabe Newell seems to share. A member of the PCMasterrace subreddit by the name of Eternifity sent the Gaben an email asking him to “open the gates for cross-play gaming.” The benefits of doing so, he said, would include increased community sizes, fewer platform-exclusive games, and increased freedom of choice when purchasing a gaming system. “Opening up multi-platform multiplayer gaming is the next step to a better gaming community,” he wrote.
And Newell (or someone who’d busted into his office and stolen his Steam authenticator) replied, as occasionally happens. “We’re all for it,” he said succinctly.
Valve has already embraced cross-platformishness of a sort with Steam Play, which makes games purchased on one platform—Windows, Linux, or Mac—accessible for free on the others. But moving beyond Steam’s own borders will doubtlessly prove more difficult. Aside from the obvious challenges of overcoming corporate barriers, inequalities in the platforms themselves could prove problematic as well. Remember in 2010 when Rahul Sood, at the time the president of Voodoo PC, said Microsoft pulled the plug on an initiative to enable cross-platform play between PCs and the Xbox 360 because console players were routinely “destroyed” by their mouse-and-keyboard-wielding counterparts? It’s a tale that should probably be taken with a grain of salt, but there’s truth in there, too, and it’s something that will have to be addressed before any kind of widespread PC/console cross-platform action can become possible.