Sony, Once Again, Is Holding Back the Gaming Future

Posted on March 13, 2018 by Brad Sams in Games with 26 Comments

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.

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Comments (26)

26 responses to “Sony, Once Again, Is Holding Back the Gaming Future”

  1. toukale

    You answer your own question, Sony has nothing to gain by doing this. We need to remember, those companies are not our friends, they exist to make money and return value to their shareholders. We've been fortunate where sometimes some companies interests and goals align with our's and it's wonderful when that happens. But let's not lose sight what their primary goals are. I do not see this as a big issue for Sony, it will pissed a few players but most do not care really as long as they can play online with their fellow ps4 players.

    • EraseYourself

      In reply to toukale:

      Yet, Nintendo has no problems partnering and that Sony is ok partnering with PC users. It makes zero sense.

      • CaedenV

        In reply to EraseYourself:

        Nintendo also does not provide a robust networking platform for games. If a developer wants to add cross-platform they basically have to design it from scratch with the limited tool-set that Nintendo makes available. Xbox and PS have networking platforms in place that they control, which developers can much more easily plug into, and so Sony and MS have a lot more say about what can and cannot be cross platform.

        Nintendo's only rule is that if you can make it work with limited system access, then eat your heart out.

      • skane2600

        In reply to EraseYourself:

        Nintendo might be OK with some partnering today, but really they're the poster boy for closed gaming systems. Prior to the release of the NES, we thought the kind of license-only approach that Nintendo created would be considered illegal. Generally the specs of game machines were a trade secret but anyone who could reverse engineer them (or buy the specs from someone who had) could make a game without having to get any permission from the console maker.

  2. Stooks

    Time to get off your high horse Brad.

    If the Xbox had sold 75 million to the PS 36 million Microsoft would NEVER support cross play with the PS. Probably with the PC but no way with the PS.

    It is called business 101.

  3. FreeJAC

    The Fortnight 'Sony Compromise' is one thing but what about Minecraft? The PS4 version has had its last updates and will not be getting any new content going forward. Minecraft (Bedrock version) on Xbox, W10, Mobile, and Switch and Minecraft JAVA are the two versions going forward. I guess Sony is saying they don't need Minecraft. So much for being for the players.

  4. thosewerethedays

    Love the headline “Holding back the gaming community”.

    Like, every single gamer in the world woke up this morning and angrily shook their fist at Sony declaring “How dare you hold us back!”

    Don't think so.

  5. CaedenV

    Aaaaaaand why exactly should they play nice with others?

    They are the only ones making consistently solid first-party titles that people above the age of 12 want to play. I would LOVE to play some of these titles, but they are locked to their platform, so it isn't going to happen.

    Their gaming department is about the only thing keeping the entire company from closing up shop. Almost every other unit in the company is breaking even, or bleeding money like nobody's business. The idea that they would somehow compromise their one and only cash-cow is just silly.

    Lastly, how is this 'hindering' anything? Nintendo isn't hindering gaming by not bringing cross-platform capabilities. Mobile games are not hindering gaming by not bringing desktop or console versions of games. The whole premise is just silly.

    For that matter, you don't see MS making their games available on Steam, or Store apps being made available on Steam, when you can play cross-platfrom with most titles across steam/orgin/gog/etc. And why not? By the logic of this article it is because MS is hindering gaming on Windows PCs...

    • Tallin

      In reply to CaedenV:

      You're mixing up having cross platform play on multiplat titles with selling platform exclusive games on other platforms. It's up to the developer to implement it, but Nintendo HAS allowed crossplay on multiplats, as does Microsoft. Sony has been the one holding out on this, and sometimes giving lame excuses like "It's for the kids!!!" (Minecraft).

  6. Winner

    When Microsoft was on top, they hindered competitors.

    When Apple is on top, they hinder competitors.

    When Sony is on top, they hinder competitors.

    Market position has its rewards.

  7. Jester

    Remember last gen Microsoft would not allow cross play because it would affect the network security.Also it been brought up the Sony allows MP Free to Play games without PSN+ but Xbox requires Gold for MP Free to Play games.

  8. gelfer

    The problem with fortnite battle royale, as i found out just yesterday, is that you cannot play with an xbox account on the pc and vice versa. Because....??? This means my son had just bought v-bucks via his pc account and then found out he couldn't use them while playing on the xbox. Hurray for Epic games. Epic failure in my book!

    • CrownSeven

      In reply to gelfer:

      And this is Epic's failure how? You're talking about having a single system to play online anywhere. They can't even get sony to play ball so what you're asking for is never going to happen.

      • gelfer

        In reply to CrownSeven:

        sorry, but it is already reality. You can play with ONE account on ps4 and on pc. So yes, considering the cross play issues I would say it is epic's making. When you start the game on xbox and want to login with an existing epic account, it won't let you do that if the account is used on pc. No problem doing that on ps4 so....???

  9. dontbe evil

    this is for the players*

    *just kidding

  10. Skolvikings

    Somehow this doesn't really bother me all that much. The PS4 player base is large enough to find plenty to play against, but if it really bothered me, I wouldn't buy a PS4... which is a completely fair opinion, just not one I personally share.

  11. Waethorn

    It's for the players. And the players have spoken - they've chosen PlayStation over Xbox.

    • RonH

      In reply to Waethorn:

      Isn't it about 2 to 1 for Sony over Microsoft? still a lot of sales....

      • CaedenV

        In reply to RonH:

        yes, it is 2:1 in favor of Sony... but not exclusive to Sony. Most people who own an Xbox ALSO have a PS. It isn't like many people are being left out here, just the few die-hards that only purchase 1 console.

        • Waethorn

          In reply to CaedenV:

          Since when is half "most"?

        • Stooks

          In reply to CaedenV:

          "Most people who own an Xbox ALSO have a PS."

          Ummm there is this thing called Math.

          Quick Google search shows 75million PS4's sold vs 36 Million Xbox's sold. So half of 75 million is 37.5 million.

          Assuming every Xbox sold goes to a owner of a PS4 (umm now way) that is LESS than half of all PS4 owners or.....more than half of all PS4 owners don't own a Xbox.

  12. Rycott

    Fornite is cross platform on PS4. Just not the Xbox One.

    You can cross play: PS4, PC, iOS and Android or Xbox, PC, iOS and Android.

    It's not ideal but it's not like Microsoft hasn't done the same thing before. Do you actually think if Microsoft was winning this generation instead of being so far behind they wouldn't be doing the same thing?

    I'm sure Sony's reason is they have a larger player base than the Xbox to pull from. By having it cross platform it actually benefits the Xbox more as it dumps a much larger player base for them to pull from then Sony would get the other way around.

    Ideally it would just all work, but honestly... in the end these are large corporations trying to make money not be their customers friends. Even if they all try to portray that image.