If console manufacturers continue to embrace cross-platform play with the next generation of hardware, then we'll assuredly look back on Minecraft as one of the key titles that helped break down the barriers to cross-play in our current gen. On December 10, the PS4 version of Minecraft will be moved over to the Bedrock engine, allowing for cross-play between Sony's console, the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Windows 10, and smartphones.
PS4 Minecraft players are moving over to Bedrock as a free update, replacing the current PS4 Edition of the game from this point forward. Player progress and DLC purchases will carry over to the new version, provided that players are logged into a Microsoft Account. The update will also introduce Minecraft Marketplace, a community-driven store for skins, texture packs, missions, and more to the PS4.
First revealed in 2017, the "Better Together" Bedrock update for Minecraft promised to continue the growth of Minecraft's feature set whilst adding support for cross-play between mobile, PC, and the Xbox One, with the Switch announced to follow at a later date. Last summer, to advertise the launch of the Bedrock version on Switch, Microsoft and Mojang released a trailer emphasizing Xbox One and Switch cross-play. The trailer was released mere days after Sony gave a timid statement on cross-play concerning Epic Games' Fortnite.
The release of the Bedrock update for Sony's console—as accompanied by a new trailer similar to last year's, now with the addition of a player on PS4—encapsulates how far cross-play adoption has come since. Last fall Sony announced a "major policy change" and allowed cross-play for Fortnite to move forward. Since then, though there have been notable instances of smaller developers not being granted cross-play permissions, Sony has continued to open up its platform. In October, Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan announced that Sony considers its cross-play support as having "officially moved out of the beta stage."
Minecraft is joining Fortnite, PUBG, Dauntless, Rocket League, and Call of Duty Modern Warfare as prominent titles supporting console cross-play on PS4. There's no guarantee that cross-play support will continue to grow with the next generation of consoles, especially if one manufacturer starts out particularly strong, but it'll almost assuredly be an uphill battle for any company that tries to roll back support.