Microsoft expands their appeal to the eSports community after taking the Game Developers Conference by storm with news of their first cross-platform project, a new Xbox Live Tournament Platform, and relationships with FaceIt and the Electronics Sports League.
The 2016 Game Developers Conference (GDC) is in the bag. Microsoft had two huge announcements to make that align with their intention to take advantage of the growing momentum of the eSports industry.
The first involves their intention to open the doors of their home with an invite to other gaming platforms, like arch-rival Sony, to kick off their shoes and take a pew.
A lot of the credit has to go to Psyonix Studios VP Jeremy Dunham, who has been pushing hard for cross-platform play for his hit title Rocket League. Writing in a blog post on RocketLeagueGame.com Dunham said he was ‘honoured’ and ‘excited’ to have Rocket League as the first cross-network game, and said it was the number one most requested feature emanating from their community since the game Xbox One launched the game.
Initially, you will see Xbox One and PC users taking advantage of the cross-network play, but Chris Charla, Director of Microsoft’s Independent Developers for Xbox program, hinted at the GDC that the ‘invitation was open’ to other networks to get involved.
Dunham is especially excited about the prospect of Sony getting in on the action and implications it has for a game like Rocket League. Currently, the Xbox, PC and PlayStation versions are separate, but a unity would bring everyone together and the wheat will start to be separated from the chaff as we start understanding who the best players in the world are.
Xbox Ink Deal With ESL
In the other piece of breaking news, Microsoft has inked a deal with the Electronic Sports League (ESL) and FaceIT in a bid to improve their competitive gaming and eSports component.
Xbox will create an in-house tournament system called the Xbox Live Tournament platform and ESL’s system will be integrated. The move allows game developers and publishers to operate their tournaments on Xbox Live and PC while simultaneously being exposed to the ESL dynamic.
Xbox Live will power the new Xbox Live Tournament Platform; it will offer a single integration to support multiple tournament operators, and the first titles are expected to be launched later in the year.
Game developers will get the opportunity to expose their game too far more people by getting their claws onto the Xbox Live multiplayer network, thanks to the incorporation of mass multi-player tournaments. Microsoft hopes the new platform, and relationships will result in both homegrown small scale tournaments and large-scale pro events.
FaceIT CEO Niccolo Maisto called the announcement a ‘monumental moment for the future of competitive gaming and the growth of eSports.