Xbox plays nice: Microsoft plans to allow PS4 and PC online cross-play

Patrick O'Rourke

March 14, 2016 5:30pm

Microsoft has announced a new feature the company has hinted at for years, cross-play functionality between the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC, though there are some conditions.

Developers creating games across Xbox One and Windows 10 – like the recently cancelled Fable Legends – can opt to support the feature. On the PlayStation 4 side of things, Microsoft says the feature requires Sony to “participate” for cross-platform functionality to work between the Xbox One/PC and PS4, though it’s unclear what level of participation is required from Sony.

Rocket League, a game that is essentially soccer with rocket-powered cars, is set to be the first title to support the new feature, and Microsofts notes there is an “open invitation for other networks to participate as well,” likely referring to Sony’s PlayStation Network.

While it’s unlikely many developers, or Sony for that matter, will support cross-network online play, if the feature does become common, it could change the shape of online multiplayer gaming. Currently players are segmented into their platform of choice, whether its the PlayStation 4, Xbox One or PC, even when a game is released across all platforms.

There are some facts worth considering though when it comes to cross-platform online play, mainly that players using a mouse and keyboard typically have a significant advantage over those using a traditional console gamepad, especially with some genres, particularly first-person shooters.

In the past Microsoft dabbled with cross-platform multiplayer between the Xbox 360 and PC with games like Shadowrun.

  • Walter

    This will be interesting. MS should keep a stat for the number of rage quits by console players.

    • It will be cool if it happens, but I don’t think Sony will have much interest in cross-platform online gaming. For Microsoft between Windows 10 and Xbox One, it makes sense though.

    • Eluder

      This should be a requirement going forward IMHO. Would make for such a better overall experience for gamers. I’m surprised that Street Fighter V is cross platform (PC vs PS4) and I would love to see console cross platform gaming, would be great to see.

  • Eric Nicholls

    Valve is in the House. The Steam Platform will beat them down.

  • Cross platform for consoles would be cool. Putting PC in the mix would make things hectic for console gamers. One big issue is the limited amount of keys on consoles vs the almost unlimited amount of keys in PC’s.

    I wont even mention the speed for mouse vs controller in shooters.

    • Walter

      I disagree. I think PC’s should be left out of the mix for the simple reason that the keyboard and mouse give PC gamers the advantage.

    • That is what I meant

  • Jesus McDongswoggle

    I like the effect this could have on DLC. With each new patch that adds content for a price, less and less people play a game, that’s a given. At least this initiative would increase the player pool and keep a game’s multiplayer alive well after release.

    Although some games enjoy a long life in multiplayer, many don’t unfortunately. Maybe this could change that.

  • Brad Fortin

    I remember Portal 2 managed to have cross-platform multiplayer, between PCs, Macs, Linux, and PS3 (Xbox 360 was on its own). I’d love to see that sort of thing again.

  • Longtin

    This is interesting, I used to play video games on the 360. I would of loved this back in the day! All I can say is that not everyone is better with a keyboard and mouse, I know several gamers that actually prefer the controller, they even buy a usb one for their CPU.