Microsoft has just opened the doors for Xbox gamers to challenge their PlayStation rivals in the very near future, beginning with Psyonix’s extreme sports indie game Rocket League.
Kicking off this week’s Game Developer’s Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, director of ID@Xbox for Microsoft Chris Charla revealed in an open letter that Microsoft has enabled developers to support cross-network play. The initiative will begin with Xbox Live and Windows 10 before extending an “open invitation” to other console and PC networks.
Charla confirmed Psyonix’s hit Rocket League — which debuted on PlayStation Network last year and released on Xbox Live in Feburary — will be the first game on Xbox One to support cross-network play.
Though the words “Sony” or “PlayStation 4” aren’t mentioned in Charla’s letter, it’s a very likely scenario, given the state of consoles, which are getting overshadowed by mobile and smartphone games. Cross-network play has been a wish for gamers on both sides of the console for a long time, but boring legal reasons have historically prevented it. (In 2014, the small indie game The Golf Club allowed players on all consoles to share user-generated content, but not compete directly.)
Microsoft’s move is colossal, even if it’s limited to indie games and excludes triple-A multiplayer titles for now. Gamers shouldn’t expect Xbox’s Call of Duty to engage their PlayStation counterparts or vice versa anytime soon, but if the initial move proves viable, it might happen. And, if nothing else, at least everyone will be mad when either Xbox Live or PSN is down for the umpteenth time.