In recent days, the developers behind Rocket League and The Witcher 3 have both called for Sony to break down the walls separating PlayStation Network and Xbox Live and allow cross-platform multiplayer. This idea kicked off in March, when Microsoft announced native support for cross-platform play between Windows 10 and Xbox One. It also allowed for “other console and PC networks”. What they meant, though, was PlayStation 4.
Microsoft’s statement was vague, with the company praising how Rocket League on Xbox One could connect with PC players, leaving “an open invitation for other networks to participate”. (PS4 players could already join those on PC.)
At the time, Sony told GameSpot it was, at least, open to the idea:
PlayStation has been supporting cross-platform play between PC on several software titles starting with Final Fantasy 11 on PS2 and PC back in 2002. We would be happy to have the conversation with any publishers or developers who are interested in cross-platform play.
What’s changed in the last few days are developers making an open call for Sony to make good on having that conversation with publishers and developers.
In an interview with IGN, Psyonix president Jeremy Dunham explained how the Rocket League developer had already taken care of the technical side of things.
“We’re literally at the point where all we need is the go-ahead on the Sony side,” said Dunham, “and we can, in less than a business day, turn it on and have it up and working no problem. 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.”
In another statement to IGN, CD Projekt RED CEO Marcin Iwiński supported Psyonix. (Props to them for asking developers about their stance on it!)
“Our upcoming Gwent: The Witcher Card Game will launch in closed beta for PC and Xbox One later this year,” said Iwiński, “and Microsoft already confirmed Gwent’s cross-play feature not only between Xbox One and PC, but also other consoles if they allow it. We also do have a technical solution in place for PS4 and would love to add Sony’s platform to cross-play at the start of open beta. All we need is a green light from Sony.”
Sony did not respond to my request for comment.
Of course, it’s easy to argue there’s not much in it for Sony. It it good for players? Sure! Might it encourage developers to make more Xbox games? Possibly! Maybe, just maybe, the first one will be enough for them.