Rocket League has one of the biggest online communities in the gaming market right now. Having launched about two years ago, Psyonix’s racing/soccer hybrid game has amassed millions of players across three different platforms. It’s also become very big in the eSports scene with tournaments regularly taking place. The team is determined to continously enhance the experience with regular updates instead of multiple sequels. One way that it’s making the game better for (almost) everyone is by means of cross-network compatibility.
This feature allows users on different platforms to play with other online despite the difference in hardware. Currently, PC players can play with PS4 and Xbox One users (not simultaneously) and Xbox One/PC players will be able to go against Switch users when Rocket League comes to Nintendo’s system later this year. While Sony is okay with PS4 players going against PC users, it’s against cross-connectivity with users on Xbox One and Switch. Meanwhile, the other two console manufacturers were all for the idea when Psyonix brought it up.
Psyonix’s Jeremy Dunham opened up about the situation during an interview with Engadget. He had this to say about Sony’s lack of cooperation:
“There have been slight variations on how it’s been presented to us, but essentially it’s the same answer—It’s ‘not right now” or ‘It’s something we’ll consider.’ That’s paraphrasing, but there hasn’t been any movement.”
He compared it to the way Microsoft reacted to the situation:
“I think it was only about a month after our release, maybe less, that [Microsoft] said, ‘Okay we’re gonna go ahead and do it. You guys are gonna be the first [to have cross-network play].'”
A Nintendo executive recently talked about cross-play during another interview, where he stated that Nintendo is “trying to be more flexible as a company.” As a result, they were fine with the idea of Switch players going against Xbox One and PC users in Rocket League. Minecraft will also support the cross-network feature on Switch.
Going back to Psyonix, Dunham also brought up the point of how cross-network play is beneficial to different households in terms of what they could each afford. He gave the example of one family only being able to afford the Switch at $300, whereas another family has no problem getting the $500 Xbox One X. Despite the difference in hardware, both families could play Rocket League on top of being able to play against each other in a match. According to Dunham:
“That means a lot to that family. Imagine how many friends and families that’d mean a lot to.”
Dunham then brought the topic back over to Sony’s lack of cooperation. He had some rather spicy words to say:
“I don’t view it as a competitive loss to allow cross-network play,” he said. “I view it as a competitive disadvantage not to have it. Especially if you’re the only one [holding out].”
He definitely has a point. A game like Rocket League with such a massive userbase will continue to thrive for a long time when all the different communities can play together as one. Valve, Microsoft and Nintendo will all benefit from this, whereas Sony is sitting on the fence. As Rocket League continues to grow, there’s a chance that the ‘Blue Team’ just might change its mind and join in on the party.
Rocket League is avaliable now on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. The Switch edition will be launching later this year.