Microsoft announces that the company has the technological pieces in place to support cross-platform play between the Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4.
Last month, Microsoft issued out an open invitation to Sony in regards to a partnership that would support cross-platform play between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The prospect of uniting the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live is enticing, but Sony's response in regards to Microsoft's invitation was quite open-ended and vague. While Sony neither confirmed nor denied the possibility of a cross-platform partnership with its main console rival, recent statements suggest that Microsoft already have the technological pieces in place, and all that is left to sort out are the politics of the issue.
ID@Xbox Europe boss Agostino Simonetta spoke to Eurogamer about the matter, and Rocket League was brought up as being the first game to support cross-play between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. We already know that Rocket League will support cross-network play between the Xbox One and PC, but as for the possibility of Rocket League supporting cross-play between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, Simonetta says don't hold your breath.
"So, Rocket League is coming out. As for timing - well, as a platform we don't force developers to release at any point--it'll be when the developers are ready."
Having said that, Simonetta went on to state that should a cross-play partnership between the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 ever happen, Microsoft already has the technological infrastructure in place. Simonetta further stated that Microsoft is open to partnerships with any interested companies and developers, echoing its initial invitation to Sony.
"Absolutely--we're ready. Rocket League is the first game--and it is a heavily network-orientated game. Any title that wants to update their game to include cross-network play, any title that wants to launch soon and take advantage of that, we are ready."
When pressed about any response from Sony, Simonetta, a former Sony employee, kept his cards close to his chest and reiterated that Microsoft is ready and that all interested parties are welcome.
"We can only say: we're ready. We've done our bit and we welcome anyone who wants to take part."
It definitely appears that Microsoft is serious about opening up Xbox Live to cross-platform play, if its recent statements are anything to go by. But looking at the issue from Sony's point of view, linking Xbox Live with the PlayStation Network may not end up favoring either company. While PlayStation 4 sales are currently well ahead of the Xbox One's sales, opening up cross-platform support for other parties may negatively affect sales figures for both companies.
But on the other hand, breaking down the walls between online gaming networks can only be seen as a good thing by gaming fans, and this positive fan reception may actually end up boosting sales figures for both Sony and Microsoft. At the very least, the whole issue over how video game exclusives will no longer matter will be definitively addressed.
Realistically, a cross-platform partnership between Microsoft and Sony is still quite a while away, but the groundwork is definitely being laid down, and we're pretty certain that the issue will continue to loom large throughout 2016.