Rocket League developer Psyonix was among the first to sign up for Microsoft’s new cross-play initiative that opens up the Xbox One with other platforms, including potentially the PlayStation 4. The developer revealed Wednesday it is now ready to flip the switch to allow play between the two competing consoles. It just needs Sony to sign-off on it.
“We’re literally at the point where all we need is the go-ahead on the Sony side and we can, in less than a business day, turn it on and have it up and working no problem,” Psyonix Vice President Jeremy Dunham told IGN in an interview. “It’d literally take a few hours to propagate throughout the whole world, so really we’re just waiting on the permission to do so.”
This indicates Microsoft has given its seal of approval towards allowing cross-play with the PS4. However, Sony boss Shuhei Yoshida threw cold water on the idea at GDC earlier this year when he said the technical aspects are easy, but there were also policy issues and business issues to deal with as well.
It may be Sony is still going through the process of vetting the cross-play proposition. The company already touts cross-play support between the PS4 and PC, but would it want to potentially weaken its current-gen dominance by opening up players with the Xbox One? Dunham appears confident Sony will eventually allow cross-play to happen.
“Sony’s such a big company that I’m sure it takes a while for them to figure out what it is that the roadblocks are, what sort of issues they might run into with other titles, any number of things that I can’t even begin to speculate on,” the Psyonix executive explained. “We definitely ask them for updates often, and we’re still very confident that they’re eventually going to open those doors and welcome us in, but we also are really understanding that it’s going to take a while especially given all the ramifications of everything. It was just as much of a surprise to them as I think the rest of the world when Microsoft said that they would do it.”
If this ever does come to fruition, it would represent a sea change in the current gaming landscape. Console platforms have primarily operated as closed ecosystems with the occasional support for cross-play with the PC. This generation has seen more games open up to cross-play with the PC, and Microsoft has made Xbox Play Anywhere a centerpiece of its gaming ambitions going forward to allow cross-play and cross-saves between the Xbox One and Windows 10 PC.
Microsoft is leaving it up to developers to support the feature, and it may be the game makers and publishers that ultimately drive Sony to open up the PS4 to the Xbox One. Blizzard stated via Twitter last month it is keeping an “eye on cross-platform possibilities on the consoles” for Overwatch. This won’t include cross-play with the PC, however, due to the competitive edge keyboard and mouse users have over gamepad users.
The primary benefit of supporting cross-play between the PS4 and Xbox One will be a larger pool of players to draw from for multiplayer games. Player populations tend to dwindle as game’s age, and a single large pool of players versus splintered multiple pools will keep it healthier for a longer period of time. How Psyonix will deal with issues such as cross-platform IDs, cross-platform communications, and other items remains to be seen. All fans can do is cross their fingers and encourage Sony to sign off on cross-play with the Xbox One for now.
What do you think of the potential of cross-play between the PS4 and Xbox One with Rocket League and possibly other titles? Sound off in the comments below.
[Image via Psyonix]