It's time to enable cross-play.
Dear Sony, we need to talk.
It’s time to enable cross-play between the rival platforms and let us play games with our friends. I know you don’t want to but the time is right. We know you can do it. Developers have been asking for it. Gamers have been asking for it. So let’s get together, you on your PlayStation and me on my Xbox, and play some games together.
When it comes to cross-play Sony has remained non-committal, if not downright dismissive. Talk of Xbox to PlayStation cross-play has died down recently, but that does not mean we don’t want it to happen. Two big AAA franchises came out today that left me wishing the barriers that separate me and my friends would simply go away.
So far, cross-play has been a point of contention between many video game fans and Sony. There was a big todo over the idea of cross platform play in 2017 when Psyonix, developers of the massive hit Rocket League, revealed that initializing cross-play between PlayStation 4 and Xbox was as simple as flipping a switch. Cross-play already existed between PC and PSN, as well as between PC and Xbox Live. There was even a time when cross-play was possible in Final Fantasy XI across PlayStation 2, Xbox 360 and PC. So what seems to be the problem now?
It was only a few short months later during E3 that Microsoft revealed Minecraft would allow for cross platform play between the Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch and a variety of mobile devices. Rocket League would soon join Minecraft as another title with cross-play between the 3 major non-Sony platforms. However, unlike Minecraft, you do not need to have an Xbox Live account in order to access Rocket League on a rival platform. A common misconception spread by some of the more fanatical Sony followers.
The big kick in the ass came when players discovered that Epic had accidentally(translation: secretly) enabled cross-play between Xbox and PlayStation on their latest online title, Fortnite. I do not believe this was an accident. The motive is quite obvious when it comes to Microsoft and Psyonix. One wants to bolster it’s online network by keeping it’s servers filled with other people to play with. The other is a small studio with it’s future dependent on the continued success of it’s only title.
The same cannot be said about Epic. Epic is an established veteran in the video game industry, a powerhouse near the top of the food chain. A very large percentage of the games we play run on the Unreal Engine, created and owned by Epic. So when Epic says ‘we want cross-play’, they’ll get it.
And now here we are. I found myself in an uncomfortable position today thanks to the newly released Monster Hunter World. Many of my friends primarily game on the PlayStation, while I tend to prefer the Xbox platform. Over the past 4 years I have bought many games on PlayStation that I normally would not have just so I could play with these guys, many titles purchased on both platforms. Honestly, I’m tired of buying 2 copies of the same $60 game. It made sense back then when PlayStation 4 was the superior machine, but I’ve got an Xbox One X now. PlayStation is no longer the best console in my household. I shouldn’t have to choose between my Xbox and my friends.
I ended up buying Monster Hunter World on PlayStation 4 even though I’d much rather play the game on my Xbox One X. Yet I couldn’t help but wonder why I couldn’t play Monster Hunter World on my preferred platform without having to give up my friends to do so. In the end, for reasons that are selfish and very anti-consumer, Sony got my money even though they had not earned it.
I love my PlayStation and have enjoyed many nights gaming with a DualShock 4 in my hands. But there is no good reason why I can’t play Monster Hunter World on my Xbox together with my friends on their PlayStation 4. It’s 2018 and I believe the time to break down the walls and let us play games together with our friends is right now. It’s time to allow PlayStation Network and Xbox Live subscribers to play games together.
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