Pressure Mounting for Sony to Allow Cross-Network Play

Back in March of this year, ID@XBOX head Chris Charla made headlines by saying that Microsoft would begin to allow cross-network play with PC as well as other consoles. While nothing was guaranteed, Charla summarized that the new policy would allow “players on Xbox One and Windows 10 using Xbox Live…to play with players on different online multiplayer networks–including other consoles and PC networks.” In response to Charla’s comments, Sony’s representatives quickly declared that the company was open to such a partnership. This week however, those comments have begun to seem like an empty promise.

Speaking in an interview with IGN, Psyonix Vice President Jeremy Dunham said of cross-network play that the Rocket League team is “literally at the point where all we need is the go-ahead on the Sony side and we can, in less than a business day, turn it on and have it up and working no problem.” The PC version of Rocket League is already able to connect separately with the XBOX One and PS4 versions of the game, but all three are not able to play with one another at this point. Naturally, pulling all players into the same pool is a desirable next step for Rocket League, giving the game’s matchmaking a nice boost to extend longevity.

With Psyonix taking a strong public position on cross-play, CD Projekt has since made some similar comments with regards to their upcoming digital card game, Gwent. In a statement to IGN, CD Projekt’s Marcin Iwiński said, “Our upcoming Gwent: The Witcher Card Game will launch in closed beta for PC and Xbox One later this year, 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.”

With all eyes now on Sony awaiting an answer on the proposals from Psyonix and CD Projekt, it’s important to note that this cross-play implementation likely won’t allow friends to play together across platforms. While this would be a great first step on the issue, cross-network play in its current implementation is designed to boost matchmaking and extend a game’s longevity rather than bring friends together across platforms. For the latter to be successful, Sony and Microsoft would have to be amenable to opening voice chat, friends lists and party systems between their platforms. For now though, it remains to be seen if Sony will open the door at all.

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