Microsoft unleashed a bit of a surprise on the gaming world last week, announcing that it was open to connecting Xbox One games to versions on other platforms, finally unlocking cross-console multiplayer on a regular basis.
Naturally, that made the PlayStation 4 the most likely candidate for such interactions, and Sony's initial response was somewhat positive, albeit not very firm. When Microsoft announced the initiative, last year's delightful Rocket League - essentially football played by zippy cars and trucks - was deemed the most likely candidate to connect the versions. And now the developer says it is ready.
According to Jeremy Dunham, vice president of Psyonix, the studio already has a technological solution to bridge the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 networks.
"The only thing we have to do now is sort of find out where we stand politically with everyone, and then it's full steam ahead to finish the solution that we've already started," he told GameSpot. "Technologically, everything works, we've got it figured out, just [need] a little bit of time to get everything up and running."
Rocket League has its fervent fans, but there seem to be many more on PlayStation 4 - in part because it's been out for PS4 longer, but also because it was a free PlayStation Plus release at launch. Dunham says that connecting the console versions will not only benefit the longevity of the game, but also provide more active competition for players.
"There's this weird psychological thing that happens with people if you let them know that their community is small, even though they're enjoying the game and playing it," he explained. "Sometimes it encourages them to stop playing if they think nobody else is going to play with them, which creates a snowball effect where other people stop playing because they don't think anyone's going to play."
Right now, it's unclear whether Sony and Microsoft will be able to come to terms on allowing cross-platform multiplayer between the consoles, and Sony's initial response has been tentative. At GDC last week, Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony's Worldwide Studios, told Eurogamer that they'd need to consider both the technological and business aspects before making a decision.
"Connecting two different closed networks is much more complicated [than with PC], so we have to work with developers and publishers to understand what it is they are trying to accomplish," he said. "We also have to look at the technical aspect - and the technical aspect could be the easiest. We also have to look at policy issues and business issues as well."