A Fortnite-like model might be on the horizon

Rocket League players on Xbox will soon be able to trade money -- or, at least Rocket League's in-game equivalent to real-world money. Key trading will be implemented on Xbox "within the next several days," according to Psyonix.

This news comes via the patch notes for Rocket League's latest minor update. As soon as Psyonix enables the feature in the game's backend/database system, key trading on Xbox will be fully functional. One key is generally accepted to be worth $1 in Rocket League. (The pricing model is 1 key for $1.50, 5 keys for $5, 10 keys for $10, and 20 keys for $20.) Keys are used to open crates, which are Rocket League's cosmetic microtransaction system.

While PS4 has supported key trading from the beginning, Xbox has lagged behind because of Microsoft's policy against letting players swap digital items that are purchased with real money. That has seemingly changed, as Psyonix wouldn't be able to implement this feature if it conflicted with Xbox's terms of use for the platform.

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In the short-term, this will pull the Xbox item economy down so that it's on-par with PC and PS4. Xbox prices are inflated on second-hand reseller sites, mostly because there's no easy way for players to get an in-game cash value for their items. That means that people are more likely to just hold onto their rare stuff. With key trading, those Xbox prices should drop as players start seeking out actual money for their items.

However, the long-term view is far more interesting. Cross-platform parties are coming to Rocket League later this summer. If all the platforms support key trading now -- ostensibly the number one thing players would want to trade -- there's a very real possibility that cross-platform trading is in Rocket League's future. It's a natural evolution for a game that's looking to become more and more platform-agnostic.

And, to take it a step further, there's a chance this means that account merging will make its way to Rocket League. The cross-platform parties will rely on a Psyonix ID system where players have their own unique identifier to connect with other players across different platforms. With the major barrier to trading now eliminated, it stands to reason that there's nothing that necessitates accounts be kept separate. They're basically all equivalent now, at least from a platform-holder's perspective.

It really starts to add up once you consider that Psyonix will introduce its Rocket Pass system later this summer. The premium version of the Rocket Pass will cost 10 keys ($10), and it's quite convenient that Xbox players can now trade keys to one another to use toward a Rocket Pass. It'd be even more convenient if those keys could come from any platform. It's obviously in Psyonix's best interests for people to be able to buy into the Rocket Pass in whatever way is easiest for them.

There's a very notable and recent precedent for this exact type of integration. Fortnite, which is currently the most successful game on the planet, links progress through its own Epic Games account system. This allows players to buy the Battle Pass in one place and work toward new rewards across all platforms. Rocket League could very well be trying to imitate this model. (If so, don't be surprised if Sony refuses to play ball -- just like how it won't let Fortnite players on PS4 use their Epic accounts on other platforms.)

Of course, this is a lot of conjecture spiraling off of the simple revelation that Xbox can soon trade keys. For its part, Psyonix temporarily refutes the notion of impending cross-platform trading. Senior vice president of game development Corey Davis tells us "We don't have permission for cross-platform item trading at this time. Also, we will have more information on the timing for when Xbox One key trading is going live, shortly." Xbox hasn't responded to our request for a comment about changes in policy regarding trading items of monetary value; we'll update this article if we receive a response.

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