Can’t we all play nice?


Sony’s approach to cross-play is bad for gaming industry

by Christian Hollis, Editor-in-Chief


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Have you ever been in a conversation with a classmate, co-worker or acquaintance and discovered that you both share a common interest in playing video games? You quickly bond by sharing memories of your gaming past, how you got that extermination in Team Slayer on Pit in “Halo 3,” that game winning tactical nuke in “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2,” or that time you got that 10-kill Victory Royale in “Fortnite.”
Then the question comes up, “So, what system do you play on?”
And they respond, “PlayStation 4.”
Your heart is broken.
You bought that Xbox One for your personal preferences in the controller and exclusives. A new potential member of your “Fortnite” squad is gone. If they had a Nintendo Switch, it could work just fine, if they were a PC Master Race, you could hang with the best of the best. Even if they mostly played on their phone, you could play together with no issues. But PS4? Sony won’t allow it. All of those potential memories go dark because Sony feels that cross-play isn’t necessary.
But why?
The ability to play with whoever, wherever despite platform of choice seems best for both developers and players. Developers and publishers benefits from a larger player base, resulting in shorter que times between matches and longer commitments to games, while the consumer benefits by being able to play with their friends.
Don’t let anyone lie to you. Enabling cross-play in your favorite games is as simple as flicking a switch, and there is no major technological hurdle. In fact, on Sept. 18, 2017, Epic Games accidentally enabled cross-platform play, but was quickly shut down.
Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida, commented on the cross-play controversy in an interview with the Independent. “On cross-platform, our way of thinking is always that PlayStation is the best place to play. “Fortnite” I believe, partnered with PlayStation 4, is the best experience for users. That’s our belief,” said Yoshida.
Yoshida contradicts himself because if PlayStation was the best place to play “Fortnite,” than you would be able to play with everyone despite platform. The only reason is corporate greed. Sony only cares about the sale numbers of their system. Sony wants you to pay their annual fee of $60 a year, on top of whatever you’re paying on other platforms, to play with your friends. In other words, Sony is making it harder for you to play with your friends.
Despite Sony’s negligence, Microsoft and Nintendo have partnered together to allows players to play cross-platform on many games including “Fortnite,” “Minecraft” and “Rocket League.” Hopefully, Sony will turn this around, but at the moment, they are a setback to innovation in the gaming industry.