Microsoft has recently announced their desires to pursue cross-platform online gaming. This announcement is both exciting and long overdue. Gamers such as myself have had to deal with the pressing conundrum of choosing a particular console based on features and brand loyalty, or buying the more popular console in order to connect with a wider range of friends. The development of cross-network compatibility has been a looming for years, and since the inception of next generation consoles. Microsoft has extended the invitation to Sony and the PC community in hopes that they will accept, and assist in collectively progressing video games forward.
The main question I have is, why NOW? Both the Xbox and Sony platforms have their individual cult fan followings. Sure, technical difficulties could have previously held up the process in years past, but could this be a ploy for Xbox to make up some ground in sales? Xbox Live used to be light years ahead of the PlayStation network with its features and gameplay, however Sony has closed the gap while maintaining it’s free service. Upon the initial release of next generation consoles, Xbox was the more popular choice for consumers. To date, PlayStation sales have almost doubled those of Xbox. As an Xbox faithful, even I can acknowledge PlayStation’s upward trending fan base. The cross-networking proposal will surely help to thrust Xbox back into prospective buyer consideration. The collaboration will also allow for users to play the wildly popular Xbox specific games with huge followings such as HALO and Gears of War, while still competing with/against Ps4 players.
Keep in mind, Sony does not have to accept the invitation to partner with it’s rival Microsoft. The company indirectly acknowledged Microsoft’s idea, saying that it’s open-minded to partnerships going forward. The proposal has its pros and cons for both systems. Acceptance could lead to a decrease to the overall unit sales and control that Sony has within the gaming ranks, possibly allowing Microsoft to even the playing field. The collaboration may also create an even higher disparity in console sales, with buyers demonstrating their brand loyalty with their new-found online flexibility. One thing is for certain, the avid gamer has been waiting for this far too long. The days of people ducking and dodging matches due to their varying consoles will be over, making it possible for anyone on the planet to get this work.