When Rocket League finally enables cross platform play across PC, PS4, and Xbox One, it will make history by being the first game in history to straddle multiple ecosystems- an impressive feat, and one that will hopefully be replicated in multiple other games to come.
So when we got the chance to talk to the Rocket League developers, we naturally had a lot of questions to ask them about this historic feat- and while discussing the administrative challenges of getting Sony, Microsoft, and Valve on board are ones that have been discussed ad infinitum before, what truly intrigued us was the technical aspect of it. Just how difficult was it, we asked, to get multiple different networks talking to each other?
As it turns out? Not very difficult at all.
“From a technical side, it was actually not that difficult,”Psyonix’s VP Jeremy Dunham said. “The biggest hurdle was different server requirements, and security protocols- you know, the different ones that Sony uses versus what Microsoft uses versus what you have to worry about on Steam. But that didn’t take us long. Like… we don’t have a giant lever like what you see in Star Wars when they shoot the Death Star, but if we were to use that as some kind of approximation, then if all parties were on board, we could flip a switch very similar to that, only it’s more dramatic. And it would work. It would work like that. We’ve already performed tests on multiple configurations, and the technology works- we just need to be able to have the go ahead, and iron out the small little bugs, and things that pop up in edge cases that you aren’t aware of until you’re out in the trenches.
“But the technical side didn’t take us long at all. Once Microsoft told us that it was a feature they were ready to support, we had it up and running very, very quickly.”
So, it doesn’t sound like it is difficult or expensive enough that other developers won’t want to attempt it in the future- and hopefully, this sort of thing becomes more and more common in games as time goes on. Imagine being able to play Destiny or Call of Duty with your friends owning a different console than yours!