Microsoft continues to push forward with its plans to open up its Xbox platform beyond the Xbox One console. But this week, it revealed something unexpected: Cross-network play, which could let Xbox One gamers compete with PlayStation 4 gamers.
These plans come courtesy of an open letter from Microsoft’s Chris Charla, the Director of [email protected] And he starts off by addressing concerns that the sudden and lurching opening of Xbox beyond the console will do more harm than good.
“Our core principles haven’t changed,” he says. “[We will] make sure we deliver a huge variety of awesome games to players on Xbox One and Windows 10 by making it as easy as possible for independent developers to publish games on our platforms.”
But cross-network play is new, and it builds on the previously-revealed expansion strategies that will see cross-platform play and cross-buy capabilities come to Xbox One Windows 10 as well.
“We’re enabling developers to support cross-network play as well,” he writes. “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.”
Other console and PC networks. That clearly means The PlayStation Network (PSN) for PS4, and Steam, which works on Windows PCs, Macs, and Linux/Steam Machines. That … is amazing.
“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,” he continues. “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.”
Given the strange and negative reactions that Microsoft’s cross-platform play and cross-buy capabilities have received from protectionist Xbox fanboys, we’ll see how this one flies. But I think this is a great idea. And a long time coming.