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Microsoft Opens Cross-Network Online Play With Rocket League, More Games Could Follow

(Image by Psyonix Studios)

(Image by Psyonix Studios)

Under a new policy from Microsoft that bridges the divide between the different platforms, Rocket League, the vehicle sports game by independent developer Psyonix Studios, will soon support cross-network, online multiplayer between the PC and Xbox One with other consoles to possibly follow, both companies announced on Monday.

Not only will players across Xbox One and Windows 10 on PC be connected together in multiplayer over Xbox Live, but there’s also an “open invitation” from Microsoft allowing support for other console and PC platforms to join in too.

This announcement opens the possibility of Xbox One and PlayStation 4 owners playing more games together online in the future.

Chris Charla, the director of ID@Xbox, said that Microsoft will now let any developer add the cross-network feature to any game and it will be up to other platform holders to include this support for those other versions too. Players over Xbox Live can also choose to still play only with people on Microsoft’s online system.

Cross-platform, online multiplayer matchmaking between Xbox One and PC users in Rocket League will first happen later this spring. The feature has been one of the most requested to be added to the game, according to Psyonix.

Other platforms supporting this new type of online play for Rocket League would be announced soon, according to Psyonix. While PS4 players of the game facing those on Xbox One hasn’t been confirmed yet, it’s possible they could be added if approved by Sony. For Rocket League there won’t be a Windows 10 restriction for PC owners to play against those on Xbox One, according to the design director at Psyonix.

Psyonix called the announcement a “dream come true.”

Rocket League will be one of the first major games to ever have this cross-network, cross-platform feature if it gets supported by Sony. Traditionally people could only play with or against other users on the same network, platform or console. Both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 require a paid subscription to access online multiplayer over Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network. Microsoft also plans to support cross-platform play with its exclusives like season three of Killer Instinct releasing March 29 for Xbox One and Windows 10 simultaneously.

Rocket League first released digitally for the PC on Steam and PlayStation 4 in July 2015 and was a featured free download for PlayStation Plus subscribers that month. The game was ported to the Xbox One on Feb. 17. Psyonix released the game through Microsoft’s ID@Xbox program, which allows independent creators to self-publish on the Xbox One and Windows 10 platforms.

The game currently supports cross-network play between the PlayStation 4 and PC versions, although it has some restrictions such as users not being able to create a party that has friends on different platforms.

Psyonix’s hybrid game became incredibly popular because of its addicting gameplay and fast-paced multiplayer. Rocket League mixes elements of soccer with small vehicles that can be upgraded with new designs and skills, pitting two teams against each other on a large field. There are also eSport competitions with professional players based around the game.

Rocket League has sold around 4 million across the PC and PS4 and created more than $70 million in revenue for the studio based in San Diego, California. The game has a player base of more than 12 million users across all three platforms as of this February, according to Psyonix. It took around two years for the studio to develop Rocket League with a budget of close to $2 million.

The game is the follow-up to Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars, one of the studio’s first games that released for the PlayStation 3 in October 2008.

Rocket League retails for $19.99 and features different downloadable content packs for new cars and customizable designs. Psyonix has also added licensed DLC that includes a “Back to the Future” car pack and the Batmobile from the upcoming “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” movie.

A retail version of Rocket League is planned for a release this year. Psyonix also teased a basketball mode coming soon to the game.

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