Phil Spencer pessimistic about cross-platform play with PS4 players

In the months since Microsoft first extended an invitation for cross-platform play to the creators of the two other major gaming consoles, Sony and Nintendo, it would seem that the former hasn't softened its stance on the issue.

When Microsoft first announced its intention to bring cross-platform play for Minecraft in order to allow players from across the phone, PC and console to play together, Sony refused to join the party, insisting that it was doing so for the safety of its player base.

Back then, Spencer was visibly offended by Sony's backhanded jab at its rival and, as a recent interview suggests, things haven't improved in the time since. Even though the two companies were reported to be actively talking about implementing such a feature, Spencer's new comments suggest those negotiations were all talk and no action is likely to result from them. He remarked,

"We talk to Sony all the time. With Minecraft on PlayStation, we have to be one of the biggest games on their platform in terms of sales and gameplay. Same with Nintendo. The relationship with Nintendo on this front has been strong. They've been great supporters and we continue to collaborate with them. But I think Sony's view is different. They should talk about what their view is..."

While he refused to mark the feature as a lost cause, cautioning the interviewer regarding his inability to speak for Sony, he did indirectly suggest that Sony's view on the matter is that enabling cross-platform play would discourage sales of its consoles. Being locked into an ecosystem is likely to encourage individuals in the same social circles to all invest in that particular ecosystem and Sony apparently adheres to this viewpoint.

Spencer himself opposed this way of looking at the matter, instead extolling the virtues of cross-platform play as being "better for gamers". He added,

"If it's better for gamers, I have a hard time thinking why we shouldn't go do this, especially when you're trying to make the gaming business a bigger business; grow it, get more games, create more opportunity. Especially in the indie space, actually. If you're creating an online indie game and you're going to create five [shards] of your game--the Steam version, Xbox Live on PC, Xbox version, the PlayStation version, the Switch version creates hard matchmaking scenarios. We should help developers, not make their lives more difficult."

As a recent mistake by Fortnite developer Epic Games shows, the implementation of such a feature would likely require no extra work on the part of Microsoft of Sony at all and, so, it seems that the only thing stand in the way is the politics between the two rivals.

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Source: GameSpot

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