This year’s E3 has revealed big multiplayer titles like Minecraft and Rocket League will let players on Xbox, PC, and Switch play with and against each other cross-network. But why is the PlayStation 4 not included? According to a PlayStation exec, PS4 cross-platform play is being blocked due to the whims of stakeholders.
In a discussion< with PlayStation global sales and marketing head Jim Ryan, it was explained that keeping PS4 players out of playing with other platforms is a result of "a commercial discussion between ourselves and other stakeholders". When pressed to elaborate further, Ryan had this to say:
“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.”
In relation to Rocket League, Psyonix Publishing VP Jeremy Dunham has stated that the game is fully ready to be cross-platform for everyone at the mere blessing of Sony. “We would do whatever we would need to do to make it possible to be cross-network play with all the other platforms and PlayStation 4. They just need to tell us what that is,” said Dunham. “It’s literally something we could do with a push of a button, metaphorically.”
Ryan has stated that he holds no “profound philosophical stance” against letting PS4 players into the cross-network party, and has said that this is not the final word. “I don’t think anything is ever a done deal. Anybody who is dogmatic in that manner is typically a fool,” said Ryan.
…so what do these stakeholders need to hear in order to let Psynoix push that metaphorical button? It seems like granting everyone a chance to play alongside one another regardless of platform makes a lot more business sense than not. Here’s hoping that some shirt collars are grabbed and shaken to get folks to see the wisdom in allowing more cross-platform play.