Perhaps the biggest casualty of the console war is the friends lost when moving to a rival platform. If your PlayStation buddy decides to pick up the next Xbox, your days of playing games together are no more. But if Microsoft get their way, it might not matter.
Xbox marketing manager, Aaron Greenberg, told GameReactor that they’re currently “talking to Sony” about potentially allowing crossplay between the two platforms.
For those not up with the nerd jargon, crossplay is what they call the ability to play games with other players regardless of the platform they choose. The hugely popular Minecraft has already achieved this, meaning anyone with the game, whether it’s on PC, Xbox, PlayStation or even iPhone, can play it together online.
Sony have been a massive wet blanket about the concept for some time, with Microsoft seemingly leading the way now that the idea isn’t cockblocked by lesser technology. While it used to be technical shortcomings that made crossplay difficult, it now comes down to a commercial decision between the two companies.
When you look at the numbers, it’s easy to see why Sony are reluctant to give in. Microsoft reported around 33 million Xbox One consoles sold since its launch, while Sony claims they’ve flogged a massive 60.4 million PS4s.
A big aspect of PlayStation’s pull comes down to console exclusivity – if all your mates have PS4s, you’re more likely to grab one so you’re not left out of multiplayer games. With full crossplay, this issue no longer exists.
In other words, Microsoft have a lot to gain, and that could cost Sony quite a bit.
“We’re talking to Sony. We do partner with them on Minecraft and of course we’d like to enable them to be part of that one community, and unite gamers… We’re hopeful that they will be supportive of it,” said Greenberg.
PlayStation’s global sales and marketing head Jim Ryan spoke with Eurogamer about the issue back in June.
“It’s certainly not a profound philosophical stance we have against this. We’ve done it in the past,” he said. “We’re always open to conversations with any developer or publisher who wants to talk about it. Unfortunately it’s a commercial discussion between ourselves and other stakeholders.”
Business nonsense aside, crossplay only seems like an inevitable development in the gaming world, and one that sees Sony now falling behind. Let us all play together already, dammit.