Granted, Rocket League players can already play matches with players from other platforms. Can they party with them, though? Sadly not, and they’re going to be waiting for some time by the looks of things.
Some games are just designed to be played with friends. Take the spangly new Super Mario Party, for instance. It’s perfectly playable against CPU opponents, but there’s no denying that it’s at its chaotic best with three other friends in tow. Where’s the satisfaction in a last-turn shady win via Lakitu star theft against a computer?
Local co-op is one thing, but online games also tend to be infinitely better with friends than the dreaded ‘randoms.' Uncoordinated parties, trolls, players who have precisely zero interest in the actual objective... you can avoid all of this, and communicate much more easily when you’re right there in a lobby with players you know.
Rocket League may look like a chaotic festival of ridiculousness (and it often is, let’s not kid ourselves here), but there’s a method to its madness. The high-speed car soccer title can be super strategic, which is a concept that’s often beyond random players online.
In the wake of all the furor about Fortnite and cross-play, it’s definitely a credit to Psyonix that Rocket League has embraced the concept since the start. While PS4 players can only play with PC players besides themselves just now, Xbox One, Switch, and PC can all play together as nature intended.
This is a positive for sure, but there’s still more work to be done. While these systems are all free to play together, users of different systems cannot yet party up together. This is why the team is bringing the RocketID system to the game, but there’s some bad news on that front: We won’t be seeing the system implemented this year. As the team explained in a blog post,
“While our goal was to release RocketID before the end of 2018, we’ve made the difficult decision to push its release into early 2019. The good news is that with Sony's recent announcements regarding full cross-platform functionality, we can now make additional changes to prepare RocketID for ALL platforms should we receive permission to do so! We’re working incredibly hard to ensure that it’s as intuitive, stable, and polished as possible, before releasing it to the world.”
Sure, it’s the old ‘it’s delayed so that it’ll eventually be better’ defense, but in this case, that’s probably for the best. As we’ve seen in the current climate, these things are essential to get absolutely right. There’s a lot riding on this, as far as the game’s future goes.