We Still Don’t Know Whether Sony Will Allow Cross-Play With The Xbox One

We Still Don’t Know Whether Sony Will Allow Cross-Play With The Xbox One

It’s been fun this week seeing all the chatter about a world where PS4, PC and Xbox One players are all able to play together, in sort sort of unified gaming paradise. But the reality is much more complicated than that, as illustrated in a new interview Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida.

Talking to Eurogamer from the Game Developers’ Conference, the Sony Worldwide Studios president explained that it was simpler to enable cross-play between the PC and the PS4 because the former was an open platform.

But dealing with other closed networks though — the Xbox One, in other words — is another matter entirely.

“Connecting two different closed networks is much more complicated so we have to work with developers and publishers to understand what it is they are trying to accomplish,” Shuhei said. “We also have to look at policy issues and business issues as well,” he added.

The suggestion is then that the technical concerns in merging PC, PS4 and Xbox One players are the least problematic. The biggest question is whether it’s in Sony’s interest to do so. Rocket League seems like it’ll be the first game to have cross-play parity with all platforms.

Going forward though? I could very easily see a future where small titles and indie games can happily have cross-play across all platforms, while Sony and Microsoft battle it out to ensure AAA games only have cross-play with their networks.



  • Didn’t Sony suggest this about 7 years ago for the PS3 and xbox360 but Microsoft said no?

    • Something like that. It was definitely Microsoft that said no, which seemed strange at the time for the very reasons being pushed now – they basically run two out of the three significant platforms.

      I’m not sure its going to be that hard to get cross platform games talking to each other myself. If the PS4 and PC can talk to each other, and the Xbone and PC can talk to each other, just make them talk in the same language.

      The PC requirements are the common ground, and clearly neither PS or Xbone have an issue connecting to that.

      • I think Microsoft said no because they had a competitive advantage over Sony at the time so it wasn’t in their interest to help out the PS3

        • Yeah, that was one of the reasons. Still didnt make that much sense to me, they could have allowed cross platform gaming just between the Xbox and PC, and left PS out of it. MS Live was on both the Xbox and PC platforms in one way or another, it wouldnt be hard to base it around that.

      • The PC requirements are the common ground…

        Which is why I think next generation (or sometime during this generation) I’m just going to give up consoles all-together and go PC Master Race. I’ve been resisting it for so many years, but since I’ve been reading up on /r/PCMasterRace I’ve started to think about converting. Microsoft’s shift of Xbox into PC Gaming may just be the gateway drug I need, before I free myself of network shackles all-together 😛

        • Thing about consoles is that they serve a purpose. PC’s never stand still, which is both a strength and weakness, while consoles represent a point in time, which has benefits.

          Every PS4 is the same set of components for example, excepting storage. There might be some tweaks and streamlining along the way, but the first console sold is essentially identical to the last one of that model.

          Which makes it easier for developers, and simpler for consumers in a lot of ways. There is also a lot less faffing about getting it up and running, with the console basically plugging into the tele, a disc being inserted (or game/patch downloading) and away you go.

          Where consoles work is that point in time idea. When they are new, they often leapfrog the standard PC by quite a ways. Not the top of the line, the average.

          Where PC’s work is where that average continuously goes up. So sooner or later, they pass the snapshot of the console, and start becoming the better machine. Eventually, the basic technology reaches a point where the next generation of consoles get built and reset that benchmark and the whole process starts allover again.

          Any closed product is the same. They set a standard, which makes it easier to develop for,

          Apple computers generally have weaker tech than modern PC’s, but because they are all the same, they can get more out of them. A PC might only use 80% of a CPU’s potential, while a Mac might use 95%.

          The PC will always be a player, because its the one that changes the benchmark, but the consoles will also always be a player, because they can take advantage of that better than the PC can simply because of the nature of both of them.

    • Its always the one with the smaller install base that wants it. Thats whats changed now.

    • That would make sense. The first thing I thought when I heard all this was that it wouldn’t be in Sony’s interest to do so this generation, nor in Microsoft’s last generation. The dominant multiplayer platform is self-perpetuating: people will buy consoles or games for consoles where most of their friends are. So once a platform hits the lead, like PS4 now and 360 then, they’d be crazy to take the foot off the throat of their competitor.

  • If this ever eventuated (it won’t) the announcement would be at E3, surely.

    What are the technical reasons for why a game I buy on Steam doesn’t play nice with the version my buddy buys on GOG? I think I remember that being an issue for more recent FPS multiplayer games.

    Of course we can’t possibly imagine PC-centric developers and publishers doing this can we 😀

  • It’s important to remember that just because both parties are willing doesn’t mean it’s easy to pull off. Patches are harder to sync between platforms. Sony tend to be a bit more relaxed about patch quality and Microsoft tend to bottleneck there, so it would require them to first slow the patch release down to the slowest of the two, and then for Sony and Microsoft to actually work together to deploy the patch at the same time. I think it would be worth it but it might create a few messes along the way.

  • so while they would have exclusive rights to AAA titles, I wonder how this would work with exclusive DLC or time limited DLC, would team Xbox get a patch that includes items/DLC that they cant get just to allow cross platform support to continue?

    • I imagine that exclusive content stuff may technically be cross platform, but as they are exclusive, the other platforms wont have anything to connect with.

      As for platform specific DLC, it wont be much different to how it goes now. If you have it, you can play it. If not, its that grey option on the list.

  • Microsoft’s put Sony in a pretty tight spot on this, really. If they allow it, it potentially undermines the value of PSN and takes away the competitive advantage that their larger install base has for multi-platform multiplayer games (people tend to buy on a platform where they can play with friends) but if Sony doesn’t allow it, Microsoft has a PR coup where they can point at them and talk about how mean-spirited they are and how Sony doesn’t want to co-operate and improve the situation for players etc. Either way, Sony loses.

      • Yeah, because No was the status quo. Sony didn’t exactly turn around and announce it and then have MS stonewall, both of them were uninterested.

        • I still think your making way to big a deal out of sony saying no. It will be hardly be a blip on most peoples radar. The ones that do know will also know why MS want it now but not before.
          And as for MS calling them meanies. MS wont because regardless of the circumstances, they did say no last time and they will need to explain how its somehow different… other than that they are the smaller install base with more to gain this time.

    • I agree completely that there’s no reason that the dominant platform would do this, but I doubt that it would be a PR problem for them if they refused to. It will likely be the controversy of the week, then people will go back to playing multiplayer games on the same networks and with the same circle of people that they have used for years.

  • I don’t get why is it so confusing about Sony’s statement. They literally just said, they have never restricted cross platform games by stating the examples. Same reason why ff14 arr is not released on Xbox because Xbox does not allow it.

  • It’ll be interesting to see if MS pull the plug on pc vs xb again (remember shadowrun and the other fps that allowed x-platform play?) The technical requirements were never a major issue, the problem was that even mediocre PC gamers were smashing the console gamers due to the fact they were using mouse-kb combo while the console players were using the controller and for MP they had to remove auto-aim.

    • Easy solution, don’t allow mouse/kb, or if you do, also allow it on console.

      KB is a goddamn rotten input device for gaming though excluding games with a huge number of input macros.

      • If you have assigned the keys correctly on your keyboard or you use an analog stick device for moving and mouse for aiming then it’s going to kick the console’s arse every day of the week.

        Pointless not to allow kb/mouse on a multiplayer, multiplatform game, as that is what the majority use, whether it is DOTA, a FPS like COD or a strategy game.

  • I feel like Sony are taking every opportunity to neg Microsoft this gen, so am really doubting this will play out.

    Also how’s this going to work if two different people have the same username on both consoles and play together? Is this going to mean you have to create another name/account for every damned game you play? Isn’t that the point of having these networks like PSN/XBL/Steam? Especially since Sony are a pack of stubborn arseholes who wont allow changing of nicknames on their network (oh, just lose 5 years of purchases and create a new account!)

  • I think they also don’t want competition across consoles. Gamers clashing over which console is superior in the Cross Platform environment. Microsoft tried many years ago to have PC vs Xbox but the trials were unfair. Players with the same respective skills competed in a beta trial and PC had far too much of an advantaged over Xbox that Microsoft pulled the trial and didn’t publicize the information. If they do allow Cross Platform they will need to take that into account and only allow controller based games. Again, their would be unnecessary trash talk between the consoles and Sony might not want the hassle.

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