Just when it seemed like gamers were on the verge of a wonderful era of cross-platform compatibility, where people can play online with their friends regardless of what device they use, Sony went and stomped all over it in the worst way possible.
Microsoft and gaming studio Psyonix made news in 2016 by announcing that their surprise hit game Rocket League, a hybrid of playing soccer with remote control cars, would open itself up to cross-platform play across the Xbox One and PC. They invited Sony to join the party, but to no avail.
With the recent E3 announcement that Rocket League is coming to the Nintendo Switch later this year, and that it would also include cross-platform play with the Xbox One and PC, the ball is once again in Sony’s court to offer the feature to PlayStation owners. Oh, and if Rocket League isn’t your thing, Minecraft will soon also support cross-platform play on the Xbox, Switch, and PC.
But Sony won’t play ball.
PlayStation global sales and marketing head Jim Ryan recently spoke to Eurogamer and tried to explain Sony’s reasoning. It sounds something like “won’t anyone think of the children?” but his explanation doesn’t quite come around full circle to make any sense.
“We’ve got to be mindful of our responsibility to our install base,” Ryan said. “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.”
Is he trying to say that the PlayStation community doesn’t have any online trolls or bullies? That no one on the PlayStation network uses foul language or brags about the sexual conquests of their opponent’s mother? Because if he really thinks that, then… wow, he’s out of touch.
Eurogamer didn’t hold back, pointing out to Ryan that even Nintendo, the most conservative of the three major gaming companies when it comes to content, was on board with cross-platform play. But Ryan doubled down, basically saying that Nintendo can make their own decisions and Sony will do the same.
“Everybody has to take their own decisions. We’ll do that. Like I say, we have no philosophical stance against cross-play at all.”
The PlayStation 4 isn’t completely devoid of cross-platform play, as Final Fantasy XIV can be played across the PS4 and PC. So the technology is there, if only Sony would make the decision to enable it on more games.