Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has once again opened up about the uncertainty of cross-play functionality between Xbox One and PS4. When asked by GameSpot about whether or not this feature was a lost cause (as far as XB1 / PS4 is concerned), Spencer stated that:
We talk to Sony all the time. With Minecraft on PlayStation, we have to be one of the biggest games on their platform in terms of sales and gameplay. Same with Nintendo. The relationship with Nintendo on this front has been strong. They’ve been great supporters and we continue to collaborate with them. But I think Sony’s view is different. They should talk about what their view is…
I have a real struggle making comments about their motivation or timelines. I know there is a certain view that says if my friends have this console, they can’t play with people who buy another console. That’s a reason they go buy my console. That reason is not going to go away. So we’re putting Minecraft out there as one of the biggest games on any platform and allowing people to play together regardless of what device they bought. I don’t think everybody is taking that same approach to the ecosystem. So I’m never going to call anything a lost cause but I think some of the fundamental reasons and certain scenarios, they’re not really going away. So I don’t know what would change.
I think people look at cross-play and say is it better for gamers. If it’s better for gamers, I have a hard time thinking why we shouldn’t go do this, especially when you’re trying to make the gaming business a bigger business; grow it, get more games, create more opportunity. Especially in the indie space, actually. If you’re creating an online indie game and you’re going to create five shards of your game, the Steam version, Xbox Live on PC, Xbox version, the PlayStation version, the Switch version creates hard matchmaking scenarios. We should help developers, not make their lives more difficult.
So there you have it, another update on a scenario that hasn’t gained much traction. It doesn’t make it easier to digest when we look at how Fortnite “accidentally” enabled cross-play between Xbox One and PS4 last month. Let’s watch this space and see what happens, maybe Sony will one day open their minds to the idea… hey, is that a flying pig?