For a company’s whose tagline for their gaming console is “this is for the players”, Sony’s actions continue to speak much louder than their marketing efforts. The company is once again blocking cross-play functionality and this is becoming a common trend that is hurting the overall gaming community and more importantly, limiting the future of gaming.
Minecraft, Rocket League, and a few others games have the ability to allow players from different platforms to compete against each other. While Nintendo has embraced this functionality and PC gamers can play with console gamers in supported titles, Sony has always been sitting on the outside looking in but it can only blame itself.
The latest edition of Sony blocking crossplay is with Fortnite Battle Royale. Microsoft has already publicly said it supports cross-play with this title which puts the limitation squarely on Sony’s shoulders as Kotaku notes that in September, a ‘configuration issue’ accidentally allowed PS4 and Xbox players fight it out online before the setting was updated.
Seeing as crossplay is only an artificial barrier that Sony is creating across several games, the real question is “why would Sony block this?”
That answer is quite easy, they have nothing to gain from enabling its users to play against players on other devices. Unlike Microsoft, if you game on a PC, Sony doesn’t make any money and that’s likely the crux of the issue here.
The interesting thing is that Sony is locking itself into a walled garden much like that of Apple or even Microsoft of the late 90s. The company can do this as they are the market leader for this generation of consoles but by limiting the online aspect of their hardware, they are likely damaging their gaming brand but if that will have any meaningful impact, we won’t know for some time.
Sony hasn’t stated publicly why they won’t enable this functionality but one thing is clear, it’s hurting the overall gaming community and putting PS4 players at an unnecessary disadvantage.