2017 has been a big year of discussing the possibility of cross-platform play between Xbox and PlayStation. Numerous developers have chimed in saying it’s easy to implement, and Microsoft has previously stated they are open to the idea, with the barrier always seeming to stem from Sony. PS4 and Xbox One cross-play is once again the subject of discussion as Xbox chief Phil Spencer says he doesn’t understand why Sony won’t support the feature.
Games like Rocket League and Minecraft can already be played together across Xbox, Steam, and the Nintendo Switch, and an alleged error caused PS4 and Xbox One players in Fortnite to play together for a very brief period of time. If it’s already happening on other consoles, and Epic Games proved it was possible between Microsoft and Sony, then what’s the hold up? Phil Spencer wants to know the answer to that too.
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. 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.
While he may not be clear on what is preventing Sony from supporting the feature, Spencer says that he can’t understand why anyone would be against a move that is clearly in the best interests of gamers and developers. He indicates that cross-platform play would actually help developers rather than making their lives more difficult through fragmented player ecosystems.
I think people look at [cross-play] and say is it better for gamers. If it’s better for gamers, I have a hard time thinking why we shouldn’t go do this, especially when you’re trying to make the gaming business a bigger business; grow it, get more games, create more opportunity.
Especially in the indie space, actually. If you’re creating an online indie game and you’re going to create five [shards] of your game–the Steam version, Xbox Live on PC, Xbox version, the PlayStation version, the Switch version creates hard matchmaking scenarios. We should help developers, not make their lives more difficult.
Should Sony come out and say why they won’t support cross-platform play with Xbox players?