PS4 And Xbox One Cross-Play: Sony Continues To Obfuscate

Rocket League developer Psyonix says it is ready for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One cross-platform play right now. The Witcher developer CD Projekt Red studio says it wants cross-play for its upcoming Gwent card game. Microsoft made the move to open up the Xbox One and Xbox LIVE, but Sony continues to obfuscate on the issue in interviews.

Sony’s Global Sales and Marketing head, Jim Ryan, sat down with IGN for a lengthy interview where the executive gave a non-answer to a question about cross-platform play between consoles.

“There’s been a lot of noise about this recently. There were certain statements made at E3. But our position has always been that we’re receptive to this,” Ryan told IGN. “It’s something we’ve been doing for many years now. I think we started with cross-platform initiatives on PS2 in fact, in the early network days of that. There are a number of instances on PS3: when you upgraded from the PS3 to the PS4 generation on GTA V you could take your save cross-platform, we’ve also seen it with Final Fantasy. We’re completely open to this. It’s really down to the developer and publisher of a certain game to come and talk to us and we’re ready to have that conversation.”

Ryan primarily talks about cross-play between PlayStation consoles along with a nod to the handful of titles that can be played between the PS4 and PC, such as Final Fantasy IV. Unfortunately, he did not address the actual intent of the question, which concerns PS4 and Xbox One cross-platform play, and the interviewer did not press him on the issue.

Rocket League (Xbox One)
[Image via Rocket League]

It was barely more than 10 days ago Psyonix announced it was ready to turn on cross-play between the PS4 and Xbox One. The only thing it needs is an approval from Sony and it can be turned on.

“We can, in less than a business day, turn it on and have it up and working no problem,” Psyonix Vice President Jeremy Dunham told IGN at the time. “It’d literally take a few hours to propagate throughout the whole world, so really we’re just waiting on the permission to do so.”

As previously covered, Sony boss Shuhei Yoshida admitted the technical aspects between making PS4 and cross-platform play is likely the easiest. Psyonix’s statement indicates it has already figured it out. However, the “policy and business issues” appear to be holding things up on the PlayStation company’s side. The company may simply not be willing to open up its platform to a direct competitor, even a competitor it is soundly beating in console sales currently.

Microsoft is leaving it up to developers to support the feature, and it may be the game makers and publishers that ultimately drive Sony to open up the PS4 to the Xbox One. Blizzard stated via Twitter last month it is keeping an “eye on cross-platform possibilities on the consoles” for Overwatch. This won’t include cross-play with the PC, however, due to the competitive edge keyboard and mouse users have over gamepad users.

Overwatch (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
[Image via Blizzard Entertainment]

The primary benefit of supporting cross-play between the PS4 and Xbox One will be a larger pool of players to draw from for multiplayer games. Player populations tend to dwindle as game’s age, and a single large pool of players versus splintered multiple pools will keep it healthier for a longer period of time. How Psyonix will deal with issues such as cross-platform IDs, cross-platform communications, and other items remains to be seen. All fans can do is cross their fingers and encourage Sony to sign off on cross-play with the Xbox One for now.

What do you think of Sony’s continued non-answers to the question of PS4 and Xbox One cross-platform play? Sound off in the comments below.

[Image via Microsoft, Sony]