“There are a lot of challenges and they’re just trying to be measured I think,” says Phoenix Labs CEO Jesse Houston.
The cross-play debate rages on, and Sony seems to be at the centre of it as always. In the past, several developers, from Hi-Rez Studios to Gaijin Entertainment to Chucklefish, have called out Sony for their stubborn and inconsistent stance on enabling cross-platform play, even when some notable exceptions like Fortnite and Rocket League have managed to break through the walls.
Now, the upcoming monster hunting action RPG Dauntless will be the next game to have full cross-play and cross-progression functionality when it launches later this year- across every platform, including the PS4. But Jesse Houston, CEO of Dauntless developers Phoenix Labs, feels the backlash Sony has received over the issue of cross-play is undue, and has come to their defense by saying that the company is taking a measured approach by trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
“Sony has a vision for player experience, and the way it ensures that players have an optimal experience is through having a rigorous set of certification rules,” said Houston while speaking with GamesIndustry. “A lot of these cross-platform systems break these rules inherently. Justifiably, Sony is trying to take it slow and understand what’s working and what’s not, rather than just throw open the floodgates.”
“I think Sony got some undue backlash because there is a big interest in cross-platform… Because most folks haven’t gone down the path of doing cross-platform play [and] they don’t understand all the nuance and difficulty of getting it done,” he continued. “They just see it as, ‘Well it’s just a waiver, give it to us.’ Well, no. How do you do payment handling? What happens if a player buys something on one platform and goes to use it on another, how do you reconcile that revenue? There are tax implications. There are a lot of challenges and they’re just trying to be measured I think.”
Dauntless is currently in open beta on PC, and will see a full release on the platform, as well as on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, later this year. Versions for the Switch and mobile devices are also in the pipeline.