Microsoft has revoked Xbox’s exclusive to own platform multiplayer policy in an announcement made on Xbox.com. Xbox live now supports connections to other platforms and operating systems, extending an “open invitation” to other networks to join in.
Microsoft launched its first multiplayer network long ago with Xbox Live whereas PlayStation did it more recently with PlayStation 3. For some reason, Microsoft did not open its gates to other multiplayer networks until now.
With this new feature on the table, Microsoft has done its part in letting gamers play the same game with their friends regardless of their networks, consoles or platforms.
Director of ID@Xbox, Chris Carla, added to the announcement and said, “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,”
That means the rest is still up to other platforms, console manufacturers and game developers. At present, console makers restrict gamers to play each other on either PlayStation Network or Xbox Live. If they get on board with Microsoft’s cross-platform feature, gamers from all around the world will be able to matchmake against their friends who are on other networks.
To completely free gamers from network restrictions, game developers need to take a step towards this move as well. The first title supporting cross-platform play is Rocket League. The game already supported this function between PlayStation and PC users. Now its version for Xbox will enable Xbox and PC players to play against each other.
However, not having anything on how exactly the game developers will balance multiplayer feature across different platforms casts a shadow over the whole concept.
In order to keep existing users happy by providing them with options in both directions, Charla noted, “Xbox players will always have the option of choosing to play only with other Xbox Live players.”