While Xbox and Switch gamers will be enjoying titles with cross-play, PlayStation 4 gamers will be grounded, and in their rooms. Microsoft and Nintendo have openly agreed to work with developers for cross-play for some of the world’s largest games like, Rocket League and Minecraft, while Sony is absent from those titles. Sony’s response to “Why?” is pretty questionable.
At E3, the folks at Eurogamer asked Sony’s head of Global Sales and Marketing, Jim Ryan as to why PS4 players won’t be able to play with their friends with other consoles online.
Jim Ryan: It’s certainly not a profound philosophical stance we have against this. We’ve done it in the past. We’re always open to conversations with any developer or publisher who wants to talk about it. Unfortunately it’s a commercial discussion between ourselves and other stakeholders, and I’m not going to get into the detail of that on this particular instance. And I can see your eyes rolling.
Jim Ryan: …We’ve got to be mindful of our responsibility to our install base. Minecraft – the demographic playing that, you know as well as I do, it’s all ages but it’s also very young. We have a contract with the people who go online with us, that we look after them and they are within the PlayStation curated universe. Exposing what in many cases are children to external influences we have no ability to manage or look after, it’s something we have to think about very carefully.
So, according to Jim, this is both a commercial decision and protecting the kids. Nintendo is open and willing to participate, which has always had a large youth following.
Maybe Sony one day will see the light of online cross-play, but for now, it seems that XBox and Switch players will be in the sandbox while PS4 players are standing from afar playing with themselves.