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Microsoft and Nintendo made the opening moves towards a future where consoles were no longer separated by the companies that manufactured them by announcing cross-platform support for Minecraft and Rocket League for the Xbox and Switch. Only Sony was the lone holdout, and the company's reluctance to step into a cross-platform agreement with both Microsoft and Nintendo made waves in the video game community. Plenty of players were confused why the PlayStation was the only holdout in the cross-platform agreements.
Cross-Platform would allow players who own the same game, in this case either Rocket League or Minecraft, on either the Nintendo Switch or an Xbox One console to play with one another online. Cross-Platform play previously existed between certain consoles and the PC, but this news marks a new front on a potentially hardware neutral online gaming experience. Sony was the long hold out, and according to reports, the only one stopping Sony from joining the cross-platform table is Sony itself.
Even though I consider myself à PlayStation fan. I believe Sony is dropping the ball by closing themselves of from cross platform play.— Faysal (@MarocFAYS) June 14, 2017
Nintendo has gone region-free and has cross platform netplay. @playstation what's the deal?— k.Dot.Lo (@kDotLo) June 14, 2017
Super disappointed to see @PlayStation avoiding cross-platform online play. I believe it only hurts their sales in the long run... (1/2)— Vortac (@VortacVids) June 14, 2017
If PlayStation is the ONLY platform not embracing cross-play, they're at a disadvantage.— Ryan Brown #E32017 (@Toadsanime) June 14, 2017
According to Eurogamer, Sony Marketing Head Jim Ryan had this to say about why Sony is choosing not to take part in the great Cross-Platform experiment. "It's certainly not a profound philosophical stance we have against this. We've done it in the past. We're always open to conversations with any developer or publisher who wants to talk about it. Unfortunately it's a commercial discussion between ourselves and other stakeholders[.]" When pressed on what these commercial discussions entail, Ryan says:
"We've got to be mindful of our responsibility to our install base. 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."
Of course Eurogamer points out that Nintendo, arguably the most child-friendly ecosystem of gamers, is partaking in cross-platform. Ryan maintained that Sony is looking out for PlayStation players. Yet those same players have also expressed dismay that they be missing out on playing with their peers on other consoles in their favorite games.
On the Minecraft subreddit:
And over on the Nintendo Switch subreddit.
On r/Microsoft has some diplomatic things to say about the situation, but many prominent comments appear to be on the side of PlayStation agreeing to allow cross-platform.
As for the PlayStation subreddits, the decision not to allow cross-platform has been...mixed.
Sony does offer cross-platform play for games like Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn between the PS4, PS3, and PC and it doesn't help that Sony the optics in this situation work against Sony in this case. As cross-platform play between the Xbox and Switch go underway, it remains to be seen how Sony will continue to respond to the chorus of players asking for the feature.