Recently it was announced that Rocket League and Minecraft would soon be cross-play compatible between the PC, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. It’s not terribly surprising that Sony was left out of this conversation seeing as the Playstation is currently the world’s best selling console and there’s really no gain to be had in including players who don’t have it. While this reasoning is disappointing and a little unsatisfactory, it makes sense. Why would Sony, who is winning the console sales race by a mile, slow down game production to invest an unknown amount of time and money into making their console only slightly more appealing to an only slightly larger demographic? Had that been the reasoning given, we would’ve been upset, but the actual reasoning as given to the public is truly unacceptable and detrimental to the gaming community as a whole. Wesley Yin-Pool of Eurogamer recently interviewed Sony marketing head, Jim Ryan, in order to get to the bottom of Sony’s self-imposed isolation. The following paragraph is an exert from the interview explaining Sony’s stance on the matter:
Yeah. 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.
So there you have it. Sony believes cross-platform play to be a potentially dangerous idea. We essentially got a businessed-up version of “Think of the children!” And from this statement, there are two assumptions that can be made. The first is Sony believes their community to be of a higher caliber than that of the other consoles. I guess they can’t see all the toxic players I’ve reported from way up on their high horse. The second assumption is that Sony believes Nintendo and Microsoft to be incapable of managing their own communities. Sony believes the company that invented the umpty-seven digit long “friend code”, a long code required to add friends and message players, put into place to prevent kids from being harassed online, cannot manage its own community.
Even if Sony doesn’t feel this way, and this whole statement was cooked up to make them look more sympathetic for making a smart business move, these comments can easily be read as incredibly stuck up and will damage the community. The gaming community is already fractured with terms like “console war” and “fanboy” thrown out regularly, and Sony blocking cross-play, preventing that unification, and doing so in such a seemingly pretentious manner will only widen that rift. Perhaps someday Sony will change their mind and instead of being Playstation players or Xbox players, we can all just be gamers.