http://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonev...-gamers-to-play-together-online/#4132278a5323 Hell may have officially frozen over this morning, as Microsoft MSFT +0.22% has announced support for not just native cross-platform play between Xbox Live-enabled games on Xbox One and Windows 10 systems (ala Rocket League), but cross-network play too. PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live gamers playing together in harmony? What madness is this! Seriously, I had to triple-check this report to make sure I wasn’t just imagining it. In a general update from ID@Xbox Director Chris Charla over at Xbox Wire on the state of the program, Charla outlined a few new features that were hatched directly from developer feedback, including Cross-Network Play. “First, in addition to natively supporting cross-platform play between Xbox One and Windows 10 games that use Xbox Live, we’re enabling developers to support cross-network play as well,” Charla writes. “This means players on Xbox One and Windows 10 using Xbox Live will be able to play with players on different online multiplayer networks – including other console and PC networks.“ While Microsoft isn’t directly calling out consoles like Sony's PlayStation 4 or services like EA’s Origin on PC, the intent is crystal clear. Microsoft is opening the door across the entire landscape of gaming, and inviting developers to take the leap, explaining that it’s up to them to support this feature. It’s not just a magic switch Microsoft can flip, but it’s nice to hear that the tools are now in the toolbox. I’m sure the platform holders will also need to play nice. Charla also says Xbox Live users “will always have the option of choosing to play only with other Xbox Live players.” He then extended an invitation for other online networks to follow in Microsoft’s footsteps. On the surface this would initially seem borderline crazy, but it actually fits Microsoft’s Nadella-driven narrative nicely. This is the same Microsoft that is releasing more and more software for Android and iOS rather than locking it down to their own ecosystem. The same Microsoft that seems increasinglyuninterested in fanning the usual console war flames. The same Microsoft that, despite the recent complaints from Epic head Tim Sweeney, is adamant about making UWP (Universal Windows Platform) an open environment for developers to build their products on (even if it’s not off to a shining start). I view this as a wonderful direction for gaming that shows Microsoft continuing to show preference for their brand overall instead of just their hardware. Could this come back to bite them down the road? Should this become a prevalent feature, I suppose it could impact Xbox One console sales (but since Microsoft is playing the long game with their latest console, it may be less of a concern.) One of the main reasons I hear from people for choosing the latest multiplatform game on one system over the other is simply “where are my friends playing?” Microsoft also announced that, similar to Rocket League on Playstation 4, their Xbox One version will support cross-platform play with the Steam version. Now it’s up to the developers if they want to complete the circle and enable everyone, regardless of platform preference or online network, to play together. I don’t know about you, but I think this is something gamers have wanted for a very, very long time. Now let’s see who else picks up the baton and continues the race. By the way, I have to wonder if now we’ll finally get Final Fantasy XIV on Xbox One.