Cross-platform multiplayer will not be coming to PlayStation 4 any time soon

By Cal Jeffrey ยท 18 replies
Jun 15, 2017
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  1. Last year Microsoft announced that it was opening that Xbox up for cross-network play. The idea of Xbox, PlayStation, and PC users being able to all play together in the same game had been percolating for years. Crossing Xbox One with Windows 10 was a no-brainer, but getting others on board would require participation from other platform creators like Sony.

    At first, Sony sounded open to the invitation. In a statement given to Gamespot, the company indicated that cross-platform play was a possibility.

    “PlayStation has been supporting cross-platform play between PC on several software titles starting with Final Fantasy 11 on PS2 and PC back in 2002. We would be happy to have the conversation with any publishers or developers who are interested in cross-platform play.”

    While falling short of commitment, Sony at least seemed interested in entertaining the idea, but that was in 2016.

    This week at E3 2017 it was announced that both Rocket League and Minecraft were incorporating cross-platform play. The games will now host players on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows 10, and even macOS. However, Sony will not be participating in cross-network play.

    In an interview with Eurogamer, the head of marketing at PlayStation, Jim Ryan defended the company’s decision to block play across platforms. Ryan insists that the decision was in the interest of younger players.

    “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.”

    Sony’s excuse is noble, but there are a few holes in the “we are just protecting the kids” argument.

    The most obvious come straight from SCEA’s Terms of Service statement for the PlayStation Network, which informs users that they “must be an adult of legal age in the country in which [their] account is registered" (18 years old in the U.S.). If they are not an adult, a legal guardian must accept the terms of Sony’s “contract.” The company must obviously protect itself in the event that a youngster becomes exposed to adult content or language, hence the very specific clause.

    “Notice: Game experience may change during online play.”

    Anyone who has played an online game for more than 30 minutes knows that the kids playing who are obviously under 18 are usually more foul-mouthed than the adults in the session. It is the nature of the beast and happens on PSN as much as it does on any other online network. What is Sony trying to protect the kids from that occurs on other platforms that does not happen on its own?

    Furthermore, every game that has an online component has an ESRB disclaimer that states: “Notice: Game experience may change during online play.” Since this is a warning from the Electronic Software Rating Board, we know that they are not referring to lag or something technical. They are specifically pointing to the use of profanity over the network.

    Sony’s excuse seems weak when you take these points into consideration, but that leaves the question, why else would they block cross-platform play?

    Having cross-network play on the PlayStation is not technically challenging. Psyonix claims that it could have Rocket League for PS4 supporting cross-platform in under an hour if Sony agreed to allow it. So, that is not likely a cause for the blockage.

    The Verge theorizes that Sony has an advantage over Microsoft right now in that it is selling more units per month than the Redmond company. While cross-platform play can only help Xbox, it does not hold the same economic attraction for PlayStation.

    “Sony is in a much stronger position, and blocking cross-platform play simply encourages gamers to buy a PS4 if they want to play with their friends.”

    I am not sure that I entirely agree with that theory because I have plenty of non-PlayStation friends, but the Verge is right in that allowing the intermingling of networks poses no real advantage to Sony at this time.

    However, all is not lost for those PS4 users who would like to see this feature. Jim Ryan told Eurogamer that Sony is still open to the idea and is willing to have discussions about it, but currently, there are no ongoing conversations within the company, with Microsoft, or anyone else regarding cross-platform play.

    Top Image by Gamespot

    Permalink to story.

  2. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 956   +515

    It looks like I won't be using my wallet for Sony anytime soon. Lame excuse given, and if the "advantage" reason is true, then it is not gamer friendly. We should no longer need to say "Oh, but I have [opposite console], we can't play this game together".
    ForgottenLegion likes this.
  3. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,355   +2,004

    You know, I like the games but with it as hard as it is to get the kids outside and play with the neighbors, we simply don't need it!
  4. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,877   +1,298

    The 800 lb elephant in this discussion is the fact that keyboard plus mouse is a huge advantage in most competitive games. If cross-platform was the norm every PS4 owner would need to get one of those kb/mouse adapters in order to be a contender.
    JaredTheDragon and Reehahs like this.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,256   +454

    For good reason... controller users would get OWNED by mousers.
    Reehahs likes this.
  6. Reehahs

    Reehahs TS Guru Posts: 575   +316

    Only in shooters or games that require aiming. Not fun playing racing games with keyboard.

    Didn't MS try cross play with Halo or Crackdown and discovered that pro console gamers got owned by PC newbies?
  7. treeski

    treeski TS Evangelist Posts: 990   +233

    Actually, MS opened up cross PC and Xbox gameplay in GoW4, even at the ranked level. You can look up the details if you care.
    KIPtheLIP and Reehahs like this.
  8. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,739   +3,757

    In FPS only. There are a few games that are cross platform, like Paragon, where this advantage is non-existent due to design. Even so, this is probably mostly myth anyways and only matters to the top 10% of players in any game. Sometimes controllers look like they can't compete because you just suck with them, and vice versa.
  9. cuerdc

    cuerdc TS Enthusiast Posts: 89   +10

    Well this may bite them if cross platform takes shape elsewhere I'll be ditching ps4 for xb1 unless the rainway app works well. Sony getting greedy as did xb1 when said games would not be able to be sold etc caused switch to ps4 they uturned but too late maybe Sony now making that same mistake
    ForgottenLegion likes this.
  10. ForgottenLegion

    ForgottenLegion TS Addict Posts: 146   +134

    Corporate arrogance is never a good sign.

    If Microsoft can cross play across many devices and platforms that is pretty big advantage imo.

    Sony had the lead with the PS2 which made them arrogant with the launch of the PS3.

    Microsoft became arrogant with the success of the Xbox 360 and thought their sh*t didn't stink. Well the Xbox One reveal did stink and they're seriously losing ground to Sony this gen. This fall from grace has humbled them and forced them to do good by the fans by releasing features they would have gladly charged for or flat out not bothered with last gen.

    Now we have Sony repeating history yet again.
    Oh well, we'll see how they do next gen.
  11. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    ... is either still an infant or it's just the skeleton.
  12. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    Intel, nVidia & AMD should do the same then fanboys of one product won't have to associate themselves with fanboys of other products. A great idea. ;)
    That that tongue in cheek remark aside, I thought cross platform gaming had been around since the PS2 & XBox days, not that I actually give a damn that it isn't and goes to show the level of interest I take in game consoles.
  13. Cal Jeffrey

    Cal Jeffrey TS Guru Topic Starter Posts: 641   +181

    You give a damn enough to read articles about consoles and I appreciate you for that. :)
    Skidmarksdeluxe likes this.
  14. KIPtheLIP

    KIPtheLIP TS Rookie

    First person shooters most definitely, however with games Like Gears of War 4
    They did great with Gears 4 I play it all the time on PC using a controller. Mouse and Keyboard users don't have an advantage in that game.
    Reehahs likes this.
  15. cuerdc

    cuerdc TS Enthusiast Posts: 89   +10

    You can get KB/mouse adapters for consoles I am sure, not that I've gone that far for advantage maybe be if console was on my desk controller preferred for comfort on couch. Unless anyone can advise on a KB/mouse couch setup?
  16. cuerdc

    cuerdc TS Enthusiast Posts: 89   +10

    Might be sold tac pro for ps4 looks not too bad :)
  17. Morris Minor

    Morris Minor TS Member Posts: 33   +15

    Cross platform Games would be good for the consumer, more people to play online will keep a game alive longer.
  18. Emexrulsier

    Emexrulsier TS Evangelist Posts: 574   +72

    I can think of a couple of titles that do support cross platform on the PS4 so this whole topic is not worth the proverbial paper it's written on.

    The two titles and Street Fighter V and Startrek Bridge Crew.
  19. Morris Minor

    Morris Minor TS Member Posts: 33   +15

    You forgot the best one, rocket league. 2 years on and there are still a couple hundred thousand people online at the weekend.

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