Microsoft finally opening up the floodgates.
For a long time, Xbox Live has been completely locked down, much to the chagrin of developers- games like Final Fantasy 14 have skipped out on Xbox versions, because of how restricted the Xbox Live environment can be, while other titles, like Rocket League, have been forced to give up on signature features, like cross platform play, with their Xbox versions.
This will, however, never again be a problem going forward- Microsoft today announced that they are opening up Xbox Live to other networks- so networks like Steam and Origin on PC, and PSN and Nintendo Network for consoles.
“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,” said Chris Charla, Director of ID@Xbox. “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, she pointed out that while Microsoft have given the A-OK on their end, publishers and other networks will still need to enable support on their end for something like this to be meaningful. Which, considering Steam and PSN’s general openness, and Nintendo’s eagerness to promote cross platform play going as far back as 2013, should not be much of an issue.
“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.
This is a major step towards ensuring a global network and base for players and developers- let’s hope Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, and Valve can all play nice and at least create a unified, connected userbase, if nothing else.