Cross-Play in da House!

July 7, 2015….little did we know how a game released on that date could very well change an aspect of gaming some thought may never happen. The game: Rocket League.  The aspect:  Cross-Network play. For me, it’s hard to believe a studio, Psyonix, who self-published a few titles from 2008 which included Rocket Leagues prequel: Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket Powered Battle Cars, would be THE studio that made this happen. The idea of friends on an Xbox being able to play with their friends on PlayStation and PC is no longer a dream, it’s a true reality. Well, not so fast on PlayStation; though their compatibility is likely on the way.So, how did we get to here? Well, Rocket League as of July 2016 has roughly 6.2 million in sales across all platforms including over 5 million in DLC purchases; totaling in excess of $110 Million. Strong critical reception since launch, an awesome soundtrack with an immediate huge fan base…Rocket League took off and never looked back.  Psyonix has been able to make licensing deals with other franchises, the DeLorean time machine from Back to the Future being my personal favorite. See, from the start Psyonix has been about the experience for the player.  So really, it shouldn’t be a surprise to me or anyone that Psyonix and Rocket League is the bridge that may indeed make Cross-Network Play a thing that is here to stay.Described as “soccer with rocket cars”, Rocket League is a sports game at heart. What better avenue to start the aforementioned bridge than with sports? Sports titles are HUGE; Madden, NBA 2K, FIFA…but what could you do if your friend decided the other games they liked were on a system you didn’t have, and they went with that one? Well, you either bought the same systems, or you missed out playing with each other altogether; not anymore. Xbox and PC Steam gamers are now in the midst of enjoying Cross-Network Play with Rocket-League. Who knows what could come next? In the past few years an example of Cross-Network Play that worked really well was Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn. I for one preferred it on PS4 over PC because I could use the PS4 controller over the keyboard/mouse combo. Although I was possibly in the minority on that, it worked. The beauty was in how well the game played on either system, and worked together in the game servers. I ran dungeons on my PS4 with gamers on a PC, and it was awesome.  MMORPG’s and sports games really feel “right” in Cross-Network Play, but what about shooters? As we discussed on this week’s episode of Geek versus Games, shooters would probably be the one avenue that just really wouldn’t be fair. PC gamers could use and would prefer the keyboard/mouse combo and I guarantee would destroy a console gamer with pinpoint accuracy. I am not going to take the beating that would surely ensue in a match of Battlefield 1, no thanks… Or would I?!Rocket League has given us a great opportunity as gamers in the gaming community. The pressure now sits square on the shoulders of the companies who dominate the market with consoles. Can Sony and Microsoft work together for the greater good? Can we balance fair play between PC and console on certain gaming types? Well, while those may be legit questions, we no longer can say, “Hey man, it would be cool if we could play _______ together”.Buy a copy of Rocket League, score a goal…dominate, but most importantly, Game On!Shaun Haywood is a co-host of Geek Versus Games. If you want to hear him discuss Rocket League and other games, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and check out new episodes, posted every Wednesday.

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