Rocket League was patched this week to enable cross-platform play between PC and Xbox One users, following up on the promise made by Microsoft in March that they were enabling cross-platform play. This means that now PS4 and PC users can play together, XbOne and PC users can play together but still there is no way for the consoles to play online with each other.
It’s not like the idea is being completely ignored by the 2 console juggernauts. In the March announcement by Microsoft, they said that "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 consoles and PC networks." When Sony were directly asked if they would be interested, they gave the very safe and business answer that they’ve been support connectivity between PC and and PlayStation since 2002 with Final Fantasy 11, and that they “would be happy to have the conversation with any publishers or developers who are interested in cross platform play.” Sony said this in direct response to being asked if they were interested in working with Microsoft, and while it’s clearly not a no, it’s interesting that Sony elected to not even directly mention Microsoft or Xbox Live.
The obvious argument against cross-platform from a business perspective is that the manufacturer's biggest currency in their console wars is exclusivity. To sell consoles, you need to give gamers motivation to select your console over the others, and if all of my friends get a PS4, well then I will too so I can play with them. If I could get an Xbox One and still play with them, what’s to stop me from doing that? Well except for the fact that I’m not a console peasant obviously.
At the same time, I have friends who prefer console over PC for misguided financial reasons but I still want to be able to play with these friends. I know a poor wretch called Jon who loves Rainbow Six: Siege, and even though I have Siege on the PC, it looks like I’ll have to buy it on the PS4 so I can carry the lowly scrub with my godly mechanics.
There have been other examples in history where cross-platform has been enabled. Shadowrun for example allowed play between the Xbox and PC, Fable Legends was going to enable it, yet it still remains an extremely uncommon practice, even though the capability is there.
So we throw it to you guys. Should more multiplayer games be cross-platform? Or do you think it’s important to maintain the divide between the different networks?