Taehoon Kim, the CEO of nWay, the studio behind the recently released Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid, has had a few things to say in relation to cross-play on Sony’s PlayStation 4. The game features cross-play between Xbox One, Switch, and PC, but not the PS4. During a panel at PAX East 2019 (as transcribed by GamesBeat), Taehoon Kim highlighted how he felt Sony’s limiting crossplay is hurting families, esports, and the continuing trend of games as a service.
“People want to play with their friends, and not all of your friends are going to be on the exact same platform as you are,” said Kim. “Being able to do that is great. Also, families like to play together. One thing we’ve seen with games like Vainglory and Fortnite is that a whole family may want to play together, but nobody owns four PlayStations. Dad’s going to play on the iPad, one kid is on the PS4, another kid is on his phone. That kind of gameplay is only possible through cross-play.
“Also, connecting cross-play to the more recent notion of games as a service is especially powerful. When you’re running a game as a service, you want people to be able to access that game from any device. Fortnite is one of the best examples right now. Being able to access that on any device — mobile, Switch, PC, console — that’s very important.
“Another consideration is matchmaking around peripherals. Having that factored in to your servers and matchmaking is going to be important, depending on what type of controls you’re using. If you’re using a controller, you need to make sure matchmaking puts you together with other players who are doing the same.”
Cross-play has become something of a rising issue in the game industry over the last few years. With the rise of online free to play games like Fortnite and Rocket League on a multitude of systems, questions of opening once closed ecosystems have become a bigger talking point. While Nintendo and Microsoft have opened their platforms much more to cross-play than they have in the past, Sony has resisted the idea. Multiple developers, including Besthesda, have noted Sony’s resistance to the idea.
Whether or not that will change any time soon remains to be seen.