Cross-Console Multiplayer Is Now (Theoretically) Real

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Avatar image for austin_walker
Posted by austin_walker (562 posts) -
Every time someone mentions Rocket League, I want to drop everything I'm doing to play more Rocket League.
Every time someone mentions Rocket League, I want to drop everything I'm doing to play more Rocket League.

Hot on the heels announcing a plan to unify the Xbox One and PC platforms, Microsoft has again revealed yet another standards-shifting initiative: "Cross-Network play," which will allow Xbox One users to play with people not only on PC but also on competing consoles.

In a GDC-themed letter posted this morning, Chris Charla (director of ID @ Xbox) outlined the new system:

First, 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. 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.

Of course, it’s up to game developers to support this feature, and Xbox Live players will always have the option of choosing to play only with other Xbox Live players. We’re thrilled to confirm that Psyonix’s Rocket League will be one of the first games to take advantage of this new capability by enabling cross-network play between Xbox One and PC players, with an open invitation for other networks to participate as well.

Debuting cross-play for Rocket League is a great choice since there is a huge built-in audience on the PC and PS4, which means that players just getting started on the recently released Xbox One version will have a lot of people to play with. On one hand, that actually might make Sony reticent to jump into this sort of cross-play relationship. On the other, it would be a pro-consumer move that makes everyone look good.

Even as a long term Shadowrun fan, I never could get up much hate for the shooter. It might not have been canonical, but it was still fun enough.
Even as a long term Shadowrun fan, I never could get up much hate for the shooter. It might not have been canonical, but it was still fun enough.

I'm curious to see how developers react to this. First, despite an increased degree of similarity this cycle, each gaming platform remains meaningfully different, and developing with cross-platform multiplayer in mind will add one more complication to development. Second, when cross-platform play has been tried in the past (as with 2007's Shadowrun), there was always the question of unfair advantage--even when measures were taken to achieve parity. There's also the question of how Microsoft's earlier announcement about unifying its gaming platforms relates to this new program. Early response to the Universal Windows Platform has been divisive at best--Epic Games co-founder Tim Sweeney even called it an attempt to "monopolize game development on PC."

As a player, I'd love to see cross-platform play take off. I spent nearly a year playing Titanfall on PC, and while that player base diminished, the game continued to thrive on Xbox One. Everytime the game went on sale on console, I read about how lively the game's community still was on that platform and I desperately wished that I could play with those folks without shelling out the cash for an Xbox One. So call it selfish, but I'm hoping that other platform holders and game developers take advantage of this (or else pursue their own similar initiatives in the future.)

There are some additional, smaller details about other things happening with the Xbox One over in Charla's letter, so it's worth giving that a read if you're interested!

Avatar image for takayamasama
#1 Posted by takayamasama (1550 posts) -

Fusion Frenzy 3 cross-platform multiplayer fun.

Avatar image for lordofthepasta
#2 Posted by LordOfThePasta (6 posts) -

Looking forward to Frog Fractions 2 cross-platform play.

Avatar image for katelyngadd
#3 Posted by katelyngadd (80 posts) -

It's great that MS is at least openly calling for devs to support this, because they used to forbid it. It'll be great if eventually we can play games like Destiny with our buddies even if we're on different consoles. You'll never be able to eliminate the input method gap between PC/console players in shooters, but maybe that's okay.

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#4 Posted by ripelivejam (13227 posts) -

Chrono cross cross platform cross cross

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#5 Posted by The_Nubster (4292 posts) -

Good! Hearing this makes me want to buy Rocket League, finally. Everyone should be able to play everyone, it's good time.

Avatar image for hassun
#6 Edited by hassun (10031 posts) -

Playing Titanfall (or basically any fps) against PC users while using a console sounds like a very bad time.

I am personally very wary of Microsoft's intentions considering its infamous "Embrace, extend and extinguish" strategy because this fits perfectly into that mold.

There is also the matter of the Xone no longer existing in its current state and basically becoming a sort of Windows 10 TV PC box. The aspect of having cross-console gaming seems little more than an interesting side note.

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P.S.

Durante also chimed in about Microsoft's UWA plans. It's a good read: http://www.pcgamer.com/why-pc-games-should-never-become-universal-apps/#page-1

Avatar image for shivoa
#7 Posted by Shivoa (1590 posts) -

Yep, turns out that when you don't have the (active online players and install base) momentum or even the widely agreed upon superior online experience that a pull factor (forcing your friends to own the same console to play online together) becomes a push factor.

No surprise MS has finally reacted and gotten rid of a policy that was actively harming them ever since the end of the 360 generation. I do have to wonder how online play will work when you can't be sure that your patch for both platforms will release/pass at the same time and would rather not sit on a fix for a critical bug on one platform - maybe they've got a good process for this on both consoles.

Also did they ever fix the patch fees that caused issues last gen for developers who either have tight publishers or are self-funded and so that fixed fee was rather high? That would also make cross-console online less desirable for a developer having to support it (and potentially pay to patch any issues that arise).

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#8 Posted by Wraithtek (426 posts) -

Side note: Final Fantasy XI had shared servers between PC, PS2 and 360. You could be on PC in the US and playing alongside PS2 players from Japan. In 2003.

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#9 Posted by Chaoticarsonist (62 posts) -

Cross-platform Warframe! Make it happen, Digital Extremes!

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#10 Posted by YoThatLimp (2511 posts) -

is this for a new version in the Windows app store or will this rollout to the Steam version as well?

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#11 Posted by ironscimitar (678 posts) -

Are we on the brink of a Utopia?

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#12 Posted by austin_walker (562 posts) -

@hassun: Nah, Titanfall was totally fine on PC with controller. I regularly was top scorer and almost never used K+M. That said, it was also pretty specifically designed for players like me in mind.

Avatar image for auto
#13 Posted by Auto (20 posts) -

I'm positive a call of duty xbone team vs. ps4 team would be a completely civil affair

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#14 Posted by Gigabomber (177 posts) -

I'm shocked: super strong start from MS on unifying the platform and changing the game by reaching across the aisle. Amazing that they haven't botched the message yet, especially for people like me that are primarily xb1 folks.

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#15 Posted by BabyChooChoo (7093 posts) -

I hope this leads to FFXIV on XB1. I mean...I'm already playing it on PS4, but I'm a crazy person and want a XB1 version too.

Avatar image for notnert427
#16 Posted by notnert427 (2289 posts) -

This is awesome news. Now I'll wait for the discussion to inevitably turn anti-Microsoft somehow.

Avatar image for gaff
#17 Posted by Gaff (2768 posts) -

Continuing the trend of big news breaking during Bombcast recordings...

Microsoft is really trying to make itself the more attractive platform, though I'm still not convinced this is going to help the Xbox One.

Avatar image for hermes
#18 Posted by hermes (2630 posts) -

Just to clarify, this is still a concept, and only applicable to XBox + Win10 PC architecture. If Steam or Sony doesn't want to play ball, this will be dead in the water.

And, to be honest, I don't know why would they. Sony and Steam are here in a position of power, their products dominating their respective markets, the same as MS last generation when they used to forbid such behavior. It is in their best interest that people still chose which version to buy depending of their friends choice. They also have proven they can integrate their platforms (Street Fighter 5, Portal 2), although why we haven't seen more of this is beyond me (besides the obvious reason of difficulty).

Avatar image for mrsmiley
#19 Posted by mrsmiley (1597 posts) -

I have many, many friends who bought into the PS4 hype, but now regret not buying an Xbox One because they don't care about the PS4 exclusives. It sucks not being able to play games like Destiny or The Division (and other cross-platform games) with these friends! I would love to see more developers pick this up, but it's cool to see it being offered on Rocket League!

Avatar image for pabba
#20 Posted by Pabba (471 posts) -

Chrono cross cross platform cross cross

I stand with you on this.

Avatar image for omgfather
#21 Edited by OMGFather (1061 posts) -

Begun, the console war has.

Avatar image for yummylee
#22 Posted by Yummylee (24646 posts) -

As long there's option so you can exclusively play against people within your console, then this is cool. When it comes to shooters in particular the added framerates and mouse control could put people possibly playing at 30fps with a gamepad at a severe disadvantage. Though on that note multiplayer at the very least actually seems to be frequently hitting that sweet 60 even on consoles, so I guess it primarily comes down to the control flexibility.

Avatar image for chaser324
#23 Posted by chaser324 (8692 posts) -
@hermes said:

Just to clarify, this is still a concept, and only applicable to XBox + Win10 PC architecture. If Steam or Sony doesn't want to play ball, this will be dead in the water.

I agree with your point on PSN, but with a Steam game, if it's using its own servers for hosting games and handling matchmaking (like Rocket League does), Valve wouldn't be able to restrict that unless they made a huge policy shift that forced games to solely use Steam online services.

Moderator
Avatar image for azuresama
#24 Posted by azuresama (103 posts) -

@hermes: I think actually Valve would be OK with this, it was they who pushed for Steam integration to Sony platforms. Sony may have to go along with it purely to maintain their pro-gamer image. We haven't seen it much before since it's against certification requirements on console. It'll be interesting to see how this works though, it will be impossible for Sony or Microsoft to test pre launch so the onus will be on developers only to test it.

Avatar image for shindig
#25 Posted by Shindig (4964 posts) -

I don't think we're far off Forza and Halo winding up on Playstation platforms. I could see Forza being a solid fit seeing as Gran Turismo is a slow-roasted pork joint.

Avatar image for dprotp
#26 Posted by dprotp (685 posts) -
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#27 Edited by extintor (1105 posts) -

This announcement could be part of a phased strategy leading up to a joined up announcement which could potentially be really quite interesting... emphasis on *could* be and I'm healthily skeptical as to whether that's actually what will happen.

Phil Spencer does seem to have been generally overseeing a brand course correction since he took over. Now the ship isn't sinking any more it'll be interesting to see what the next play is and how the next few months pan out.

Avatar image for turboman
#28 Posted by turboman (9924 posts) -

Cool move, Microsoft.

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#29 Posted by AuthenticM (4365 posts) -

A developer has said on Neogaf that Sony is cool with cross-platform play; it was only Microsoft that prevented it. Here's their post:

To echo pretty much everyone else and other developers... it's Microsoft.

About 4 years ago, I was working for a publisher that was releasing a multi-platform online shooter for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. The initial plan for the game included cross-platform servers and cross-platform play. Sony didn't care. Microsoft said no. They scrapped cross-platform play altogether since they were going to need separate servers for the Xbox anyway and it would be easier to just maintain 3 separate communities with our current tech than to develop new cross-platform server architecture and authentication system that only 2 of the platforms used. Plus, the publisher didn't want to piss off Microsoft by having cross-platform play be a feature of only PC and PS3.

I would not be surprised if this happens with a lot of other titles who want cross-platform play, but just don't want to bother with it if you still need to setup Microsoft with their own closed system.

Avatar image for wrecks
#30 Posted by wrecks (2680 posts) -

itshappening.gif

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#32 Posted by baka_shinji17 (1468 posts) -

Xenocross-platform play!

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#33 Posted by Sevuz (3 posts) -

I'm cool with the cross-platform. With that we can keep online games alive longer.

No Caption Provided

Avatar image for mrfluke
#35 Posted by mrfluke (6126 posts) -

First thing comes to mind, i really hope Destiny 2 can use this

Avatar image for notnert427
#36 Posted by notnert427 (2289 posts) -

@hassun: Nah, Titanfall was totally fine on PC with controller. I regularly was top scorer and almost never used K+M. That said, it was also pretty specifically designed for players like me in mind.

Thanks for mentioning that, Austin. Titanfall does translate really well to the controller. There are some games like CS where K&M is a huge advantage, but Titanfall isn't one of them (which might have been part of the reason why PC gamers didn't take to Titanfall as much as they maybe should have). And yes, Titanfall is great.

I also love that Rocket League is the headliner here. It's such a simple, fun game that deserves to be the one to potentially usher gaming into a world with less walls. I want to go play some more Rocket League now.

Avatar image for nashvilleskyline
#39 Posted by Nashvilleskyline (353 posts) -
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#40 Posted by notnert427 (2289 posts) -
@shivoa said:
@efesell said:
@nashvilleskyline said:

@gaff: Everybody is saying this...ever GB staff... but the Xbox One doesn't need saving! It's doing better than the 360 was year for year. The PS4 is just doing way better.

But after hearing and repeating that, people have started actually believing this crap.

If that is true, which it might be or might not be I don't have numbers, then Microsoft has done a pretty good job of fueling that reaction so I can hardly blame people.

The Xbox One is selling so well MS refuse to say how many they've sold or even how many they've shipped to retail/warehouses (because those fickle investors who own the company obviously can't take the "good news" about "how well it is selling"). This is clearly true. This is not a repeat of the original xbox/PS2 generation. Everything is fine. I am a smart consumer for buying the very similar but definitely worse XBOne rather than getting the PS4 and that decision doesn't mean I get a worse experience with every 3rd party release. I must remind everyone that the XBOne is a great success because this is important.

I would imagine the "investors" are probably fine with MS stock doubling during the Xbox One's existence.

Avatar image for tylerdurden4321
#41 Edited by TylerDurden4321 (134 posts) -
@shindig said:

I don't think we're far off Forza and Halo winding up on Playstation platforms. I could see Forza being a solid fit seeing as Gran Turismo is a slow-roasted pork joint.

It would look like total defeat at Sony's racing game attempts, even IF the 15% revenue off every copy sold on their system from a possible 3-5 million selling Forza (considering the higher user base and euro-centricity of racing sims say it would sell higher on PS4 than XBO, that's why my 3-5 million guess) would be very profitable for Sony (and that every single year again) and even IF it would not lower GT Sport and 7 and Driveclub sales, it is not and never going to happen as long as Turn 10 is a Microsoft first Party developer.

That not everyone gets to play every game wherever he wants, always makes me sad.

Avatar image for shivoa
#42 Edited by Shivoa (1590 posts) -

@notnert427: You say that as if they're at all related. Other things that have also happened while MS stocks have trended to rise: the write-off of several failed phone projects, Zune, and the move from IE being the major browser used to access the web to it only clearly being ahead of Opera and massively behind Google.

Companies refusing the announce details of how their groups are operating (especially when they previously have been very clear on it) is always dodgy. It's dodgy when Intel hides their mobile losses by regrouping their financial reporting. It's dodgy when MS do it. No company has ever had good news about their market dominance and decided the best thing to do is rework their reporting so that no one hears about it. Their refusal to publish numbers is a bad sign. Flat out. There is no other interpretation.

This story is good news but let's not kid ourselves: Microsoft got pushed by their (new) lack of dominance in the online space. Everyone else was already pretty ok with devs running their own servers and so having their own cross-platform play - EA had to threaten MS (shortly after the Dreamcast fiasco) just to get an exception to run their own online servers so this is a significant step from a company so protective of their online services being a walled garden to force people (original xbox: much better online, 360: slightly better online plus market dominance for online gamers) to join their friends by buying the "right" console. But now that's working against them so it was time to drop the attempt to force people to buy into the ecosystem.

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#43 Posted by elwaldorf (141 posts) -

@mrfluke said:

First thing comes to mind, i really hope Destiny 2 can use this

That is my thought on the matter. It would require an actual Destiny account tied to your Gamertag/PS ID so your character can progress over, and people actually using the party chat they so desperately wanted.

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#44 Posted by MiserableLittlePileOfSecrets (18 posts) -

@wraithtek: Final Fantasy XIV as well, and it's currently running. There isn't much of a perceived performance advantage between one platform versus another.

Avatar image for elwaldorf
#45 Posted by elwaldorf (141 posts) -

A developer has said on Neogaf that Sony is cool with cross-platform play; it was only Microsoft that prevented it. Here's their post:

To echo pretty much everyone else and other developers... it's Microsoft.

About 4 years ago, I was working for a publisher that was releasing a multi-platform online shooter for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. The initial plan for the game included cross-platform servers and cross-platform play. Sony didn't care. Microsoft said no. They scrapped cross-platform play altogether since they were going to need separate servers for the Xbox anyway and it would be easier to just maintain 3 separate communities with our current tech than to develop new cross-platform server architecture and authentication system that only 2 of the platforms used. Plus, the publisher didn't want to piss off Microsoft by having cross-platform play be a feature of only PC and PS3.

I would not be surprised if this happens with a lot of other titles who want cross-platform play, but just don't want to bother with it if you still need to setup Microsoft with their own closed system.

I feel like this was Borderlands 2. I remember Randy Pitchford wanted cross-platform play but couldn't get the consoles on board.

Avatar image for dookierope
#46 Posted by DookieRope (303 posts) -

Guys, they are going to nuke the Xbox one and move live to PC. I saw it in a dream like Nicolas Cage.

Avatar image for ferenz
#47 Posted by ferenz (141 posts) -

It seems like every time is I see mention of cross platform multiplayer there's a significant amount of alarm regarding unfair "advantages" based on things such as peripherals, performance, etc. People seem to think that this is a major concern that could make or break this technology. Have they overlooked the fact that PC has already been doing exactly this since forever and the multiplayer community is absolutely fine with it? I can't remember ever seeing somebody complaining that "they have more fps then me so I quit" or "they have a better mouse than me so I quit". Is this some issue that's specific to console gamers/journalists, because it feels like it has very little legitimacy for me as a longtime PC gamer.

Avatar image for dudeglove
#48 Posted by dudeglove (13780 posts) -

Cross-platform Warframe! Make it happen, Digital Extremes!

It sorta briefly did happen. During one of the earlier updates (maybe, like, 12? it's currently on 18.5) the stars aligned and every version was up to speed and you could migrate your character profile across from console to PC. Now, currently, the console versions are usually about 2-4 weeks behind the PC version.

I've no idea what the console community is like, but the PC is perfectly solid. Never have any trouble finding pubs in most major things.

Avatar image for mattyftm
#49 Posted by MattyFTM (14891 posts) -

Does this mean Square Enix will bring Final Fantasy XIV to Xbox One? They have stated in the past that they wanted to do this, but that the Xbox rules on cross platform play were preventing them from doing it. It'll be interesting to see whether Square jump on board with that or whether that ship has already sailed.

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Avatar image for gnomeonfire
#50 Posted by gnomeonfire (1124 posts) -

Omg, video game news that I actually care about. This is something that I've wanted for so long, there really is no downside for the consumer in cross-platform play.