Sony is finally speaking out about cross-play concerns after Nintendo and Microsoft teamed up in a recent Minecraft trailer. If you’ve been paying attention to our blog here at Gamers Town, you’ll notice that we’ve been talking a lot about cross-play. If you want to catch up, you can see what the big debate is all about right here.
Basically, Sony locked Fortnite players out of their Epic Games accounts on Nintendo Switch. With Fortnite rising in popularity, people are rightfully upset about not being able to link their accounts to a Nintendo Switch if they have already logged in to a PS4.
A few days ago, Nintendo released a video showing off their allegiance with Microsoft in this cross-play war. The new version of Minecraft released for Nintendo Switch will be able to connect with the Xbox version as well as PC and mobile.
Sony Breaks the Silence
Finally, Sony is speaking up about this matter. At a Gamelab conference in Spain on June 27, 2018, Sony Interactive Entertainment America CEO, Shawn Layden, broke the silence when prodded by a reporter from Eurogamer.
On CNET.com, a question and answer back and forth between Eurogamer and CEO Shawn Layden was recorded. The reporter from Eurogamer said that “there seems to be an issue at the moment, that Sony isn’t listening to its players – or doesn’t seem to be – and that’s cross-play, Fortnite particularly. And I wondered if there were any plans to open it up? It seems to be Sony’s not listening.”
Layden responded back by saying, “We’re hearing it. We’re looking at a lot of the possibilities. You can imagine that the circumstances around that affect a lot more than just one game. I’m confident we’ll get to a solution which will be understood and accepted by our gaming community, while at the same time supporting our business.”
What Does That Really Mean?
Now, let’s break that down and see what it all means. For starters, this reporter hit the nail on the head with players concerns. At the core of the cross-play debate is the fact that Sony has not been listening to their fans. Or at the very least, it seems that way. It has been reported by several sources in the past that the biggest possibility for why cross-play has been blocked is money. Sony doesn’t want their game to be played on a competitor’s console. The idea is that it will generate more revenue because players will be forced to stick with the Sony brand. But, it is becoming increasingly clear that strategy is terrible for the market.
The worst way to sell anything is by ignoring the players. It is foolish to treat video games as only a product to be purchased because video games have proven time and time again that they are an experience. That’s why you will always see me referring to people who purchase games as fans because we are not only buying a product. We are fans of the brand, series, franchise, etc.
Sony is Listening But…
Layden confirmed that Sony is indeed not ignoring their fans. They are looking at all of the possibilities, which could mean a number of things. What fans want is for Sony to loosen up their cross-play rules and let them play games with their friends. Because as Layden himself points out, this issue isn’t limited to only Fortnite. Therefore, we can infer that Sony is not looking for a fix to appease only Fortnite fans. They want all fans looking to cross-play with competitor consoles to be happy.
However, a line towards the end of Layden’s response is a little disheartening. He says that Sony is looking for a solution that will be best for the players but also the business. The reason that Sony has blocked out cross-play, to begin with, is because of the heavy focus on income. It would be foolish not to recognize that Sony is a massive company that needs to make a profit in order to keep doing what they’re doing. But if driven too much by money, Sony risks further alienating the community that they’re trying to keep interested.
While this doesn’t say anything concrete, it is a good starting point. Fans (me included) hope that Sony makes it so that players can cross play on their favorite games with no restrictions. Though, given the nature of Layden statement, it doesn’t seem to be that easy.
What you have to say about this? Let me know in the comments below.