A hot potato: In what seems to be a first in gaming, Microsoft and Nintendo have partnered to promote cross-platform play between the two companies' consoles. While the ad is not malicious toward Sony, the timing of its release certainly seems to dig its heels into the PlayStation's lack of cross-play support.
Sony has ignored pressure from the public and from game makers regarding opening the PS4 to cross-platform play. The company has continued to maintain that it is open to discussion of the idea, but it never goes any further than that placating statement.
PlayStation 4 Fortnite players became disgusted last week when they discovered that their Epic Games accounts would not work with the recently released Nintendo Switch version of the game. Sony’s response: “Create a separate account.”
Now Nintendo and Microsoft are doubling down on the issue by teaming up to seemingly make Sony look bad. The Switch version of Minecraft received an update today that enables cross-play with PC, Xbox One, and smartphone players. What’s more is the two companies are jointly marketing this aspect with at least one new commercial advertisement.
"[Sony] claimed that they would be open to having a conversation with any developers interested in implementing cross-platforming on the PS4. Now it appears that discussions on the subject only amount to Sony saying, 'no.'"
It is a trailer for Minecraft cross-play that features both the Xbox One and Switch as co-stars. To the best of my recollection, this is the first time game console competitors have jointly marketed a product.
The trailer does not directly call out Sony for not allowing cross-play, but the implications are there, especially considering how closely it follows Sony’s bad press from last week. Despite the underlying dig at the PlayStation manufacturer, Microsoft and Nintendo genuinely seem to want to promote cross-platform play in Minecraft.
This development leads me to wonder if we will see this type of marketing with other games like Fortnite, which already offers cross-play with all platforms but Sony’s, and Rocket League, which is slated to get cross-platform support sometime this year.