Microsoft is more than willing to talk to Nintendo, Valve, and other such companies if their executives are interested in enabling fans of multiplayer online games on one platform to play with another. For example, Microsoft wouldn’t mind seeing Rocket League players on Switch squaring off against gamers enjoying the game on Xbox One.
“It’s more about gamer choice, more about making an IP on our platform last longer,” said Mike Ybarra, vice president of Xbox, in a conversation with VG247. “I don’t care about where they play, I just want people to have fun playing games because that’s just better for the industry.”
Cynics might argue that of course Microsoft is feeling congenial right now, given its struggles building an audience for Xbox One (the PlayStation 4 had sold twice as many units as the Xbox One even as early as January of this year) after enjoying a dominant position for most of the previous console generation. We are not cynics, so we will ignore that.
“The demands of consumers and developers have changed,” Ybarra added. “People are like, ‘we want all of our games in one multiplayer pool together, playing’.”
Ybarra also noted that the Xbox team is ideally located to facilitate such conversations, with Nintendo only a block or so away, and Valve located “right down the street from us.” There must be some other reason crossplay hasn’t happened more frequently, because it’s clearly not due to hesitation on Microsoft’s part.
From the look of things, at least a few productive conversations are taking place, because Killer Instinct is coming to Steam with crossplay. It’s difficult to picture Rocket League getting similar treatment, though, in part because the Nintendo Switch version features themed cars that Nintendo might not want to see racing on a competing console.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Should the communities for games like Rocket League be able to come together for matches, regardless of platform, or is it better if they remain separate?