Microsoft has been a great proponent of cross platform play this generation. After famously holding out for years, they finally capitulated, allowing Xbox Live to connect with every other network on the market for multiplayer. But Sony, who until Microsoft’s change of policy, had always claimed that they, too, would like to allow for full cross platform play, lamenting only that it would never happen due to Microsoft’s policies, have been mysteriously silent on the issue since.
Things have come to a head, subsequently- Microsoft has enabled full cross platform play between not just Xbox and PC and Xbox and mobile, but even Xbox and Nintendo. Games such as Rocket League and Minecraft are among the games that are benefitting from this on those platforms. Sony has continued to hold out, giving only vague non answers such as having a “responsibility to its user base”, but Microsoft has maintained that it will continue to work with Sony on this issue, betraying hope that there may yet be scope for some sort of arrangement to be reached regarding this.
But any hopes you had may have to be dashed now- speaking to Gamespot at the Brazil Game Show, Xbox head Phil Spencer admitted that Sony may not ever change its policy, and that full cross platform play between Xbox and PlayStation may never happen.
“We talk to Sony all the time. With Minecraft on PlayStation, we have to be one of the biggest games on their platform in terms of sales and gameplay,” Spencer said. “Same with Nintendo. The relationship with Nintendo on this front has been strong. They’ve been great supporters and we continue to collaborate with them. But I think Sony’s view is different. They should talk about what their view is…”
“I have a real struggle making comments about their motivation or timelines. I know there is a certain view that says if my friends have this console, they can’t play with people who buy another console. That’s a reason they go buy my console,” he said. “That reason is not going to go away. So we’re putting Minecraft out there as one of the biggest games on any platform and allowing people to play together regardless of what device they bought. I don’t think everybody is taking that same approach to the ecosystem. So I’m never going to call anything a lost cause but I think some of the fundamental reasons and certain scenarios, they’re not really going away. So I don’t know what would change.”
It’s a shame that Sony is acting so difficult and regressive about this issue, because full cross platform interactions are truly the wave of the future. For now, Sony and its users are going to have to content themselves with being an island, as the rest of the industry becomes increasingly integrated.