It’s a topic that we’re all too familiar with. Cross-play. With Microsoft and Nintendo practically sharing a bed right now, many are looking to Sony to see why they don’t want to follow suit. Discussion regarding cross-play (this gen, at least) began crawling out the woodwork back when Rocket League was released. The developers had hopes that they could bring several platforms together through the unification of cross platform play, which is to say that gamers on any system can share the online experience together. Cool, right?
Shortly after this, CD Projekt RED jumped on the bandwagon and stated that they wanted to implement this feature for GWENT. Minecraft, which has always been a very accessible game, is also enjoying the feature and Fortnite, one of the world’s biggest hitting game, offers cross-play too. There’s a wide variety of different games that either house this feature, or want to house this feature. Next Up Hero and Temtem being two prime examples. There’s just one glaring omission from all of that group play, the PlayStation 4.
Sony are adamant that they’re not going to allow their platform to cross-play with other consoles. Oddly enough, however, it’s not the PlayStation fans that seem most upset about this, but rather the Xbox and Nintendo fans. At the turn of the current gen, it was understandable as to why Sony would be against this feature. After all, it was always Xbox-PC and PlayStation-PC at the time. Now, however, we game in an entirely different setting. Switch, as well as the rising popularity of Mobile gaming, has pushed this discussion further.
Mobile gaming is growing more capable by the day and the Switch has dominated in ways that the Wii-U just failed to relay. When we group this with the fact that each of these platforms are open to cross-play functionality, the end result is usually that of Xbox-Switch-PC-Mobile, with PlayStation 4 left at the wayside. Sony hasn’t been very open about their plans with cross-play, often using this space to boast about their impressive sales streak, but again, most of the negative feedback that I see comes from those that game elsewhere.
I’ll say it as I see it. If cross-play really mattered that much to PlayStation owners, they would jump ship and move to another platform. I’m not disputing the fact that there’s a sizable portion of PlayStation gamers that would love to see this realized, but the majority seems to be content playing with/against their own platform community. The question here, on the other hand, is, does cross-play really matter as much as everyone is making it out to be? Well, that really depends on who you are and what the feature means to you.
Either way, there’s only one answer here. Yes, it’s important, but it’s not mandatory. It’s not important to any singular platform, but it’s important to the industry on the whole. If you’re a gamer, it’s nice to have the choice and let’s face it, if it’s a choice, it’s not hurting anyone. Those who want to utilize the feature can do so, whereas those that prefer the isolation, can ignore it altogether. If you’re a developer it’s much more impacting, I mean, the recent issue with Fortnite is a prime example as to how disruptive this situation can be if you’re a developer.
The bottom line in all of this is that PlayStation, or Sony to be more specific, are only doing what they’ve always done. That’s to say that they remain against the idea of sharing an ecosystem. Which is something Microsoft did themselves for years prior to this gen. I firmly believe that the only way Sony will truly listen is when they start getting hit where it matters, the bank. For this to be achieved, PlayStation owners will need to jump ship to a platform that supports this feature, but I highly doubt that will happen anytime soon.
It sucks for sure, because choice is always nice. I have many friends on the PlayStation that would love for nothing more than to party up with me (and vice versa), but it’s just not on the cards right now. Huge developers such as Epic and Bethesda are even calling Sony out on their current stance, but until those bank balances start to decline, it’s a case of shutting up and putting up. Until then, we have plenty of platforms to cross-play with. Whether that’s important to you depends on what you want from your gaming/console capabilities.
What I will say, again, is that it’s wildly unfair on developers that want to use this feature, but instead need to work around alternate options so that they’re not stepping on Sony’s toes. For their sake, and for the sake of any PlayStation fan that simply wants more choice, I hope we see an end result in the near future. Though, I’m not going to hold my breath. I personally would love to see Xbox-Switch-PlayStation-PC-Mobile all playing together in unity. Would you? What do you think of the situation? Sound off in the comments below.