Microsoft is about to support cross platform play in a whole new manner. An open letter from Director of ID@Xbox Chris Charla has announced that the company will be natively supporting cross platform multiplayer across both consoles and PC. In this case, consoles happens to mean just about any console the game developers decide to enable the feature on – although in practice this generally means the PlayStation 4.
The first game to support this feature happens to be the popular indie game Rocket League. According to Charla, the game will allow “cross-network play between Xbox One and PC players, with an open invitation for other networks to participate as well.”
Cross platform capability is a feature that often comes up when new games are announced. People want the option to play with their friends who happen to prefer other platforms, and this announcement may go a long way to help flagging Xbox One sales.
That being said, many developers have deliberately avoided cross platform support. This is not a case of that it cannot be done, but rather that it shouldn’t be done. Blizzard has clearly announced that the upcoming Overwatch will not support multi-platform multiplayer despite being released on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. According to the developer, this is because the keyboard and mouse offers a slight advantage in shooters that may affect the experience for everyone.
On the other hand, Street Fighter V does allow PC gamers to challenge those on consoles; which shows that this feature is likely to gain traction in certain genres that don’t require pinpoint accuracy and twitch reflexes.
ID@Xbox is at Game Developers Conference this week and is showing off a few other new features aimed directly at developers. That being said, being able to join multiplayer session with other people – no matter what platform they are on – is the biggest news to come out of GDC in a while.