Xbox Live to support cross-platform multiplayer with PS4

Microsoft is announcing a big new feature for Xbox owners today: cross-network play. It’s something they have hinted at for years, and now it seems the reality of PS4, Xbox One, and PC players playing the same game together might finally happen. At this point, there’s very little difference between the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4. But there was one key difference. Xbox gamers could only play with Xbox and PC players as Microsoft was restricting access to the multiplayer component. Microsoft just announced that game developers can now create cross-platform multiplayer modes that work with other consoles and operating systems. So it means that the next Call of Duty or FIFA could feature a multiplayer mode that works with both Xbox and Playstation gamers. It just depends on developers now. Developers building games for Xbox One and Windows 10 will be able to support the feature, but it will require Sony and others to “participate” in order for games to be played across Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

 

The first game that is going to support cross-platform multiplayer is Rocket League. Microsoft mentions cross-platform multiplayer between the Xbox One and Windows, but you can also expect support for PlayStation gamers as well given that the current version of Rocket League supports cross-platform multiplayer between PlayStation 4 and PC players. It’s unclear how developers are supposed to deal with duplicated PlayStation Network and Xbox Live screen names.

If developers and console makers get behind Microsoft’s support of cross-network play then it will change the shape of games in the future. Currently, console gamers are restricted to playing titles on the PlayStation Network or Xbox Live, and many pick an Xbox One or PS4 based on what their friends purchased. Opening up online multiplayer gaming across different platforms will remove a big restriction in console gaming, but it will also create a conversation around which titles should allow PC gamers to play against consoles. A mouse and keyboard can still have many advantages over a gamepad for first-person shooters, so it’s a new challenge that game developers will have to balance for cross-network play. For PC games that were using Microsoft’s online framework, these games will also work with other operating systems, such as OS X. And finally, Xbox players will be able to restrict multiplayer modes to other Xbox players only, but it’s unclear why you’d do that .

Oops… Sony Network hacked… personal data stolen…

Electronics giant Sony has admitted millions of PlayStation network gamers may have had their personal details stolen. A hacker broke into the PlayStation video game online network and stole names, addresses and possibly credit card data belonging to 77 million people. It is believed to be one of the biggest-ever internet security breaches of its kind. Sony learned of the breach on April 19 and immediately shut down the PlayStation network, but kept quiet about it for a whole week.

In a blog post, Sony warns that hackers have been able to access a variety of personal information belonging to users including:
* Name
* Address (city, state, zip code)
* Country
* Email address
* Date of birth
* PlayStation Network/Qriocity password and login
* Handle/PSN online ID

In addition, Sony warns that profile information – such as your history of past purchases and billing address, as well as the “secret answers” you may have given Sony for password security may also have been obtained.

The shutdown of the PlayStation network prevented owners of the video game console from buying and downloading games as well as playing with rivals over the internet. The breach is a major setback for Sony. Although video game hardware and software sales have declined globally, the PlayStation franchise has been a steady seller and is one of its key products. The company said there was no evidence credit card numbers were stolen but warned users it could not rule out the possibility. “Out of an abundance of caution, we are advising you that your credit card number (excluding security code) and expiration date may have been obtained,” it said. The fact that credit card details, used on the network to buy games, movies and music, may also have been stolen is obviously very worrying, and affected users would be wise to keep a keen eye on their credit card statements for unexpected transactions. Questions clearly have to be asked as to whether Sony was ignorant of PCI data security standards and storing this and other personal data in an unencrypted format.

Sony, which is part of Sony Corp, said it hoped to restore some of the PlayStation network’s services within a week. The network launched in autumn 2006 and offers games, music and movies to people with PlayStation consoles. It has 77 million registered users.