Sony and Microsoft, still at odds over their stances on backward compatibility features for their respective consoles, are facing another issue over cross-platform play between the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One.
Cross-platform play would allow gamers on both consoles to play with one another online. While support for the feature has gained traction, it has so far not achieved any considerable progress.
Microsoft Urges Sony To Allow Xbox Live, PlayStation Network Connection
At E3 2017, Microsoft Game Studios general manager Dave McCarthy talked about the possibility of cross-platform play between the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, expressing hope that Sony will accept his invitation to connect the online gaming networks of the two consoles.
McCarthy's statement came after the announcement of cross-platform play for Minecraft for the Xbox One, Windows PC, and Nintendo Switch. Meanwhile, Psyonix said in July 2016 that cross-platform play for Rocket League on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One is ready, with Sony's approval the only thing holding back the feature.
There is mounting pressure on Sony to finally give in and grant approval to cross-platform play. However, the company has so far not budged.
Sony's Explanation On Stance Against Cross-Platform Play
In an interview with Eurogamer, PlayStation global sales and marketing head Jim Ryan said that Sony remains open to conversations with developers and publishers on cross-platform play.
As Eurogamer's Wesley Yin-Poole stressed that PlayStation 4 owners are upset with Sony's disapproval of cross-platform play, Ryan said that Sony needs to be mindful of its responsibility to its install base. He then cites Minecraft as an example, whose players are of all ages, including children.
"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," Ryan said.
Microsoft Fires Back At Sony
Yin-Poole responded to Ryan's statement by pointing out that Nintendo, which is perhaps the most mindful among video game companies in protecting children, has agreed to cross-platform play. So why has Sony been hesitant in allowing the feature on the PlayStation 4?
Ryan's explanation also did not sit well with Microsoft, with Xbox chief Phil Spencer taking offense on the apparent accusation that Microsoft does not protect children who play on their online networks.
"That doesn't seem healthy for anyone," Spencer said regarding Ryan's involvement of player safety in the discussion for cross-platform play.
In addition, there are already some PlayStation 4 titles that are cross-platform games with the Windows PC, which is far more difficult to control against external factors compared to the Xbox One.
Will We Ever See Cross-Platform Play Between The PlayStation 4 And Xbox One?
Sony is currently on top of the video game industry, with the PlayStation 4 regularly beating the Xbox One in monthly sales reports. This has placed the company in a position to simply reject Microsoft's overtures to enable cross-platform play between the two consoles. Statistically, if customers want to play with their friends online, buying a PlayStation 4 holds the higher chance of making that happen as other people are more likely to own Sony's console.
PlayStation 4 gamers who are looking forward to cross-platform play with Xbox One owners might have to drop their dreams, as it seems that Sony will not be changing its mind on the matter any time soon.