Psyonix’s Jeremy Dunham discusses cross-platform play’s significance.
With the announcement of Rocket League coming to the Nintendo Switch, Psyonix has opened up more possibilities of cross-network play, a feature that, according to the company’s Vice President Jeremy Dunham, is key to the longevity of games across generations.
Speaking with IGN during an E3 2017 interview, Dunham discussed the developer’s focus on cross-platform play, which now allows Rocket League players to compete against others across Xbox One, PC, and Switch. PS4 players can currently play against PC players but not Xbox One, nor at this time Switch players when the game releases this holiday.
Since the announcement, Microsoft and Sony executives have spoken about Sony’s decision to not partake in this cross-platform play with both Rocket League and Minecraft. While Dunham said he couldn’t speak to specific comments made my PlayStation executives without knowing the full circumstances of those comments, he does believe it’s important for the industry as a whole to embrace cross-network play.
“I think without cross-network play you’re almost holding back the advancement of games in a way,” Dunham said. “It would be stifling the growth.
“I think without cross-network play you’re almost holding back the advancement of games in a way.
“Because imagine if you could, if all games were just by default open and available to do cross-network play…then games could be accessible across generations now, as opposed to being stuck in a single timeframe. You would also be able to approach game development and design differently because you would no longer have to worry about how long the lifecycle of the hardware is or how long you expect this person to play the game before they move on to something else.”
Dunham explained how, by approaching development with this in mind, it helps to facilitate new opportunities to change game design, multiplayer, and make use of games as a service, a term many developers have used to describe their games at E3 and in recent months.
“Now if the game was always there, it can become a part of your life,” Dunham said. “It can be the same as sitting down and playing cards with someone every weekend. Now if Rocket League is always there no matter what system you’re on, no matter what year it is, that’s a good thing.”
Beyond the importance of cross-network play for the industry as a whole, Dunham did speak to whether the developer will continue to explore the possibilities of expanding Rocket League’s cross-network capacities to include PS4 with the other systems. During E3, Sony’s Jim Ryan said to his knowledge “there is no live conversation ongoing at the moment” in regard to making cross-play a reality for games like Rocket League and Minecraft.
“Cross-network play and being available across all platforms has been an ongoing conversation we’ve had with Sony for the last two years,” Dunham said, noting that there was no conversation about making it a reality specifically for an E3 announcement.
“We’ve had and continue to have many conversations with Sony about this subject, and with Nintendo, and with Xbox, and with everybody.”
In addition to having those conversations, Psyonix will continue to support Rocket League with new and continuing content updates, including the second anniversary update.
Rocket League will also be coming to the Xbox One X and Nintendo Switch later this year, and Dunham as well as Producer Bobby Garza offered IGN new details about the Switch version.
Stay tuned to IGN for more on Rocket League.
Jonathon Dornbush is an Associate Editor for IGN. Find him on Twitter @jmdornbush.
Source: IGN Video Games