If there’s one issue that’s dominated E3 this year, it’s cross-platform play. Microsoft caused a good deal of excitement earlier in the week when they announced that Minecraft players across Xbox One, Windows 10, Android, iOS, and the Nintendo Switch would soon be able to play together. However, there was one noticeable exception to that unity; Sony’s PlayStation 4.
Later, when Psyonix announced that they’d be bringing their critically acclaimed Rocket League to the Nintendo Switch, it too confirmed that the game will support multiplayer action across Linux, Mac, Windows, Switch, and Xbox One. However, as you might expect, Sony again decided to abstain from the cross-platform action.
In both cases, Microsoft and Psyonix pointed the finger at Sony for their reluctance to get on board with the new trend.
In an interview with Eurogamer, Jim Ryan, head of global sales and marketing for PlayStation defended the company’s position. In the interview, Ryan claimed that Sony doesn’t have a “profound philosophical stance,” however, he claimed that the company’s primary concern was guaranteeing the safety of its players and that’s something it couldn’t do on non-PlayStation platforms.
“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,” Ryan said. “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.”
— Eurogamer.net (@eurogamer) June 14, 2017
Now, according to Polygon, Microsoft’s head of Xbox, Phil Spencer has rejected Sony’s defense of their decision not to adopt cross-platform play.
“The fact that somebody would kind of make an assertion that somehow we’re not keeping Minecraft players safe, I found — not only from a Microsoft perspective but from a game industry perspective — like, I don’t know why that has to become the dialogue. Like, that doesn’t seem healthy for anyone,” he said.
From his comments, it appears that Spencer has taken Ryan’s defense as a personal attack on Microsoft’s ability to protect its players online. Spencer went on to stress that Microsoft takes the safety of its Xbox Live players incredibly seriously, insisting the decision to introduce cross-platform play to Minecraft was one made with player safety in mind.
— Kotaku UK (@Kotaku_UK) June 15, 2017
Nintendo, who has signed on to both Microsoft and Psyonix’s vision of cross-platform play, is yet to comment on the ongoing fiasco. However, among each of the major gaming companies, Nintendo has always typically been the most reclusive, citing the safety of its players as its main concern. However, with the Nintendo Switch, it appears to be bucking the trend.
Meanwhile, Sony hasn’t ruled out working with Microsoft and Nintendo in the future to introduce cross-platform play, with Spencer claiming that “the door is open.” However, Ryan was keen to insist that the company is currently making no progress toward doing so.