Intergalactic Gaming | News

There's Always One: Is Sony's Reluctance for a Cross-Platform Experience Damaging?


Musa S



Date Published:

16 August 2018

Read Time:

4 minutes

At this year's E3, Microsoft and Nintendo made headlines by officially announcing an agreement for cross-platform games on the PC, XBOX and Nintendo Switch. It is a logical progressive step as the gaming world develops

With all of the technology and software available to us, it would seem silly to think that gamers' enjoyment would be limited by the fact we had different consoles. That said, Sony are notorious for not allowing earlier generation PlayStation games on the current PS4. It is therefore no surprise they have opted out of cooperating with other consoles' efforts for a cross-platform future. And it hasn't gone down too well.

Sure from a business perspective, an isolationist stance, at times, is logical and offers clear strategic advantages. America's isolationist stance led to a huge economic boom during World War One, it's effective. Let's not digress, though. Throughout the years, Sony have been the undisputed champions in the gaming market. Sony's consistent innovative creativity partnered with their award-winning game titles' has made PS4 the best console; most people happily own a PS4. But for how long?

It seems natural for any business to want to maximise profits; nevertheless, it is of equal importance there is a balance. In this instance, PS4 users' happiness determines that balance. Restricting cross-play essentially inhibits their customers' experience. If they wish to play a friend, who just so happens to have the exact same game on another console. Sony should be mindful of the potential destructive consequences their firm refusal to accept cross-play brings. For a long time, Sony maintained they were open to the idea of an eventual collaborative cross-platform experience; in the process unifying their gamers with the rest of the gaming community.

The 'cross-platform' has cameoed again this year, but gamers may not let Sony get away with it this time. It's the age old debate: money over happiness? Sony are making money, and gamers are unhappy. No doubt they will start to question whether the console is worth it if they cannot enjoy cross-platform games with their friends. Everyone wants to be elite. Everyone wants to make money. But what use is it being the best and having the money if you have no fans?!

Sony are making money, and gamers are unhappy.

Ok. We have tried our best to remain objective, but the fact of the matter is this: we support the gaming community. This is not the only poor publicity move on Sony's part; their inflated prices for PlayStation Plus, and consoles, accompanied with constraints to the use of MODs calls to question Sony's future in the gaming market. An utterly backwards decision with flawed logic.

Contrary to public scrutiny, Sony feel as though they are acting within the interests of their customers. Jim Ryan defended Sony's rejection of Rocket League's attempt to enable cross-play across all platforms, commenting '[Sony] had to be mindful of their responsibility to their install base.' In doing so, Sony effectively implied that Microsoft does not currently prioritise the online protection of children. Low-blow. This argument however is entirely reductive, and somewhat laughable. Nintendo, who cater to a wider younger market fully endorse cross-play; surely they would have carried out necessary risk assessments? Definitely a cop out.

As though Donald Trump had taken over Sony's PR team, gamers learnt that playing Fortnite on the PS4 makes it impossible to use your Epic Games accounts on the Nintendo Switch or XBOX. All of which happened without warning. Gamers were furious. In response to the uproar, Sony simply stated 'they are looking into feedback.' Nice one.

Then there is the 'non-negotiable deal.' Bethesda have recently contended that they may not release The Elder Scrolls Legends on systems that do not allow cross-play. The Elder Scrolls Legends is a strategy card game that Vice President of Marketing Pete Hines claims 'encompasses single and multiplayer [continuing that] it is both cross-platform play and cross-platform progress.' We are sure our Galacticans, like us can't help but feel that if Bathesda were in any way serious, they should be threatening to pull the plug on the release of Fallout 76 on PS4. Either way Sony they're indirecting you, your move.

Sony have consistently approached cross-platform gaming with ambiguity, constantly leaving us on the edge. If we do in fact want to see change, perhaps we may have to seriously consider hitting them where it hurts - whatever that means...

The Elder Scrolls Legends is a strategy card game that Vice President of Marketing Pete Hines claims 'encompasses single and multiplayer [continuing that] it is both cross-platform play and cross-platform progress.'

This is a hot topic, and no doubt more and more news will continue to surface. The console wars are stupid now, we like what we like and should therefore be able to play on what we like. Sony's stance needs to change. The trend towards multi-platform games with accounts playable across PC, Nintendo Switch and XBOX is in full-swing. Whether Sony continues their self-imposed exile is completely their decision; they must realise the importance. Surely?!

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