A few days ago, a fellow that I respect very much wrote an article that posed a question regarding cross-platform play. That fellow being Jez Corden and the question was if Xbox and PlayStation cross-platform play really mattered. This, of course, is something I’m passionate really about and have been mulling over this for quite some time. So when the question was posed, I felt obligated to state my state my feelings on the matter.
Why I Feel cross-platform play Matters
A few years back, a friend and I had picked up a copy of Destiny. He opted for the Xbox One copy, where I snagged mine for the PlayStation 4. We had done this dance, time and time again. However, we both felt that it would be pretty cool if we were able to play with each despite owning two different systems. Of course, we weren’t the only ones thinking this and as you have seen over the years. Players have been looking at their brand of choice and asking “What’s up with cross-platform play?”.
What is up, indeed, is the question we’re all asking.
Now, look where we are. We’re still in the same position, the only difference is that several companies have started to come around to the cross-platform play mentality. Microsoft, Nintendo, and yes, even Sony, albeit limited, have warmed up to the idea. It’s amazing, it’s awesome and it’s about damned time. Yet, the idea isn’t fully embraced by everyone and we all know where I’m headed. Yes, Sony.
Sony has been making headlines as of late, due to their denial of letting PlayStation 4 players use their Fortnite accounts on either the Xbox One or Nintendo Switch. A choice that per Epic Games, was all on Sony. Meanwhile, Xbox and Switch owners are free to not only use their accounts across both platforms but play against each other. They can even play against PC gamers, even if that means getting slaughtered. The ability is there to be used if the gamers wanted to. Sony, on the other hand, has restricted their cross-platform play to just the PC, iOS and Android. We’ve all seen and heard about it, so I won’t dwell on this.
Fortnite Cross-play Compatibility List
Not to pick on Sony, but let’s talk about why they may not want to partake in this cross-platform play evolution. While this is all speculation, the only thing that makes this seem logical is money. Financial gain, which is more than enough reason to hold their ground. But let’s play devil’s advocate here for a moment.
Let’s say you and a friend are looking to pick up a copy of a game (that doesn’t exist yet) that is fully embraced by all companies. You have a PS4, while your friend has an Xbox One or Switch. You both want to play the game and the game offers cross-platform play. Boom, it’s a win/win. You both can play each other, Sony and Microsoft make a profit and everyone is happy.
Now, what if this wasn’t cross-platform play enabled? Same scenario, but this time only one of the friends ends up with the game. Of course, you can argue that the other person can just buy the other console and be done. However, what if they couldn’t afford it at the time? Or they don’t like the practices of the other company? What originally was a win for everyone, turns into a “we left money on the table”. To me, this what it feels like Sony is doing. Making a smaller profit, instead of no profit seems like a better deal to me.
Again, this is all speculation on my part. We can argue all day about why Sony isn’t with cross-platform play. But in the end, only Sony knows why.
Cross-platform Play is here to stay
Whether Sony gets onboard or not, is a moot point. We’ve already seen several games that let us play across platforms and that number is going to grow. Developers have seen this as being a way to bring in more money while providing longevity for their games. Publishers see this as bringing in more money as well, so they’re not going to sit idle. I’m willing to bet that by 2020, we’ll see at least three to four titles that will also include cross-platform play. So what happens now, with all the platforms, will shape those games.
We’re approaching the point that the only difference that should be a game is what platform you’re one. Performance-wise, the consoles are keep getting closer, so that won’t be holding us back. Sure, we’ll see specific exclusives, but that shouldn’t interfere with gameplay…. else we’re seeing epic failures like having content delayed for a year for specific consoles. Right, Activision?
At the end of the day, having the ability to play with and against four out of five platforms ain’t shabby. That’s more than enough to go around. But having all five platforms joining hands and blowing up stuff, well that’s the holy grail.
What do you think about the matter? Am I completely off my rocker or do you agree with me? Either way, let us know in the comments!