Multiplayer on console game systems has almost always been a walled garden throughout the history of gaming, but now Microsoft has extended an invitation to developers to allow cross-platform play with Xbox One.

“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,” Chris Charla, Director of ID@Xbox, said in a blog post. “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.”

Charla said that Psyonix Studios’ Rocket League will be one of the first titles to support the new cross-platform play feature, allowing Rocket League players on Xbox and PC to play together, with “an open invitation for other networks to participate as well.”

Why it matters

Rocket League already allows cross-platform play between PlayStation 4 and PC, and it is far from the first game to bridge the gap between console players and PC players. In fact, Rocket League would not even be the first game to allow Xbox and PlayStation owners to play together.

That honor goes to Final Fantasy XI, an MMORPG originally released for PC and PlayStation 2 in 2002. Final Fantasy XI initially allowed PlayStation 2 and PC owners to play together, and the game later added support for a version released on Xbox 360.

Of course, Final Fantasy XI is one of the few exceptions to the rule that multiplayer is kept separate between game systems, which is why Xbox’s announcement could be a sign of a major shift in the console industry if cross-platform play catches on.

Xbox’s new feature opens up the potential for a more open console multiplayer landscape, making it easier for friends to play together without having to worry about which consoles they own.

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While Xbox has extended the option for cross-platform play, however, Charla noted that it is ultimately up to developers on whether or not to include the feature in their games.

Image courtesy of Psyonix Inc
Eric David

Eric David

Eric David is a staff writer for SiliconANGLE, covering the latest trends in social media and gaming. He is an avid gamer and enjoys writing about innovations in the video game industry and gaming culture in general. Eric graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas, receiving major honors for his thesis “A Culture of Heresy: Explaining the Resiliency of Catharism and the Church’s Response,” which is every bit as exciting as it sounds. Eric lives in Dallas, Texas with his wife, dog and gaming PC.

Eric David

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