Microsoft has announced plans to allow Xbox gamers to play against PlayStation 4 and PC gamers.
That’s huge news for gamers on all platforms: cross-platform play and cross-network play are things we’ve received little tastes of in the past, but have never really been a full-fledged reality.
Now, it seems like there’s a strong chance that PC, PS4, and Xbox One gamers playing the same game simultaneously will actually happen.
It already looks like a sure thing for cross-platform play between the PC and Xbox One: Microsoft has announced its unified development platform across both Windows 10 and Xbox One, allowing developers to simultaneously create games for both.
Microsoft has also opened up that unified development platform to Sony and others, opening the door for the company to participate.
We already know of one game that will support cross-network play: Rocket League.
Microsoft has issued an “open invitation for other networks to participate as well” with games like Rocket League. So the ball appears to be in Sony’s court when it comes to allowing users of their platform to enjoy cross-network play.
One of the biggest controversies of cross-network play is about whether or not it’s fair: there’s already a conversation ongoing about whether or not it’s fair to allow mouse and keyboard users to compete against gamepad-using console users.
This difference will be particularly noticeable in the world of first person shooters, where gamepads are so notoriously difficult to aim that most games come packed with some type of aim assist. You don’t get that on PC.
Aside from this hurdle, and the obvious challenges of cross-platform and cross-network development, it appears that we’re entering an age where Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC users can all live – and game – together in harmony.