Rocket League, everyone’s favorite car soccer game, has been at the forefront of discussions around online cross-play for several years now. Long before Sony agreed to play nice with the Nintendo Switch and Xbox One when it came to Fortnite, Rocket League studio Psyonix has been working to create unified player accounts across the different versions of the game. In a announcement today, the studio said that feature has once again been delayed.
“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 studio said in today’s announcement, referencing Rocket League’s proposed system for allowing friends to play together across platforms. “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!” While the delay isn’t because Sony hasn’t given Psyonix the greenlight to add PS4 to the game’s existing cross-play capabilities, one upshot to the longer wait could be that RocketIDs come to the PS4 version of Rocket League alongside the other versions of the game.
Psyonix first mentioned RocketIDs in a post from last May outlining its plans for the game going into the summer. The studio said it was planning to introduce a new ID system over the summer so players could easily create parties with friends from other consoles. While Rocket League already has cross-play between Xbox One, PC, and Switch, it’s not possible to group up with friends between those platforms. The cross-play matchmaking is automatic and random. RocketIDs are a big deal because they’d offer a way around that.
In early August, Psyonix said the cross-platform party feature had been pushed back to September because it wasn’t up to the studio’s standards. By the end of the month the studio said it was still on track, but subsequent updates started describing the release date as “later this year.” In mid-September Psyonix said RocketIDs would be delayed until a later update. That it’s now been pushed all the way back to next year suggests the feature was more difficult to pin down technically than the studio originally thought.
Whether Rocket League will ever get cross-play on PS4 also remains a mystery. When Sony first announced it would begin allowing cross-play in Fortnite on PS4 last month, Kotaku reached out to other studios to see if their games would be joining Epic’s massively popular battle royale. At the time, Psyonix said it was up to Sony and hadn’t heard anything new on the matter. While Fortnite might have been big enough to force the issue, so far it’s proven to be the lone exception. Blizzard’s Diablo III releases on Switch next month, and while a spokesperson for the company told Business Insider last week that cross-play for the game was “a question of when, not if,” the company has since walked that back, saying it’s not currently in the works.
While Fortnite cross-play on PS4 appeared at the time to auger a full reversal of Sony’s existing policy on multi-platform multiplayer, the dam hasn’t fully broken, at least for now.