Cross-platform gaming may not be in our future, after all. At least for diehard PlayStation fans.
At least when it comes to the world of Sony / Playstation. Nearly 2 years ago we saw game-changing news, as Microsoft extended the olive branch to Sony for a chance to offer cross-platform gaming to all.
But not much news has come out since regarding cross-platform gaming, or “cross-play”.
With the world and gamers becoming more connected, what seems like an impossibility a decade ago has become a reality, except for users of the PlayStation consoles.
Xbox One, Switch and PC gamers can all play together. But Sony still doesn’t want to play nice with others just yet. And this time, it seems like their ego is getting in the way rather than excuses of code or ‘limitations’ and ‘experience’.
At the IFA Technology show in Berlin, Kenichiro Yoshida (CEO, Sony), recently put his foot in his mouth regarding the subject of cross-play by saying, “On cross-platform, our way of thinking is always that PlayStation is the best place to play.”. Yoshida went on to say, “We’ve already opened some games as cross-platform with PC and some other systems, but we decide what’s best for our user experience. That is our way of thinking for cross-platform.”.
Really? I totally understand that PlayStation 4 is the top-selling console right now with over 70 million units sold, but to say “We hear what fans want but we know what’s best” is such an outdated business practice. Customers want options. They hate limitations. It seems like a slap in the face to fans. How are you going to tell them what the best experience is? If it truly is the best experience, you need to explain why, rather than just flipping the bird and essentially saying, “Mommy knows best”. If it truly is a hardware limitation or you think that the servers or network are unable to handle it, explain that.
There are certain games that just carry a different experience depending on what system you play them on. For me, I’ll never play an RTS or MOBA on a console. I’ve tried playing games like Smite on PS4 and I absolutely hated it. You want to tell me that PS4 is always the best experience? I get that you have confidence in the product that you make or sell, but saying that the experience is lesser if people play elsewhere is a garbage response.
The last time this subject was brought up, Sony’s Jim Ryan responded by saying that the reason they don’t want to do cross-play is due to contractual obligations with the people who go ‘online’ with their PlayStation systems. He went on to claim that “we look after them when they are within the PlayStation curated universe,” and that “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.”
I for one, am totally fine with keeping our children safe. But let’s not use them as an excuse.
Granted, the community can be toxic. But I’ve been called more obscene things by children than I have been by actual adults online.
Now, Sony can run their company any way they want. But there are a few issues that I have with their resolve to not allow cross-play between consoles.
- If you have an Epic Account for games like Fortnite, and you link it through to PS4, the account is now locked out from other platforms. So all of your kills, levels and stuff related to that account is no longer available to you for other platforms. Sony is the only platform that is doing this, and it seems pretty messed up that if I play Fortnite on PS4, I basically have to agree that I will no longer play on another platform. Sure, I could make another Epic Account, but why should I have to and lose everything else that I’ve done prior to linking my account to my PS4?
- Sooner or later, they’re going to hit a crossroad where their stance is going to hurt them. Even Nintendo has hopped on the bandwagon and they’re easily the most “family-friendly” company in the gaming industry, ever. If Nintendo isn’t worried about the effect other console communities might have on the “children”, then I don’t think that excuse is going to hold any water.
- You also know your stance may be wrong when others within the industry and gaming community start calling you out on your stance.
- The idea of someone else ‘Curating’ my gaming experience is a bit of a touchy subject. As a gamer, I don’t want to be forced or told how to game or when to game. The idea of them curating my gaming experience makes me feel like they want full control over my own personal experience. I think Yung Yea on YouTube puts it best in the video below.
So Sony, say whatever you want in defense of being against cross-play. But at the end of the day, we know why you won’t allow it. You’re afraid that cross-play will hinder sales, and that says a lot about the lack of faith you have in your fans and even your own product! If you were 100% sure that you truly had the “best gaming experience”, then allowing us to play with friends, family and loved ones on other consoles shouldn’t take away from that “experience”.