Microsoft’s Aaron Greenberg recently gave an interview with MCVUK and the topic of cross-network play between Xbox and PlayStation came up in said interview. We know from earlier statements that Microsoft is open to the idea and implementation of cross-network play between XBL and PSN but that it is up to the developers and, finally, Sony themselves. Here’s what Aaron told MCVUK:
There’s a big clamour amongst your community to allow Xbox fans to compete with PlayStation owners. Now that you have cross-play with PC, how close are we to being able to see PS4 and Xbox One owners compete together?
We put it in the hands of the developers. You have seen with things like Rocket League where we have enabled them to connect Xbox Live gamers with a much broader network of players. For them, we have built the bridge our end. We know that for a game like that it makes sense to allow players on other platforms to compete in the same arenas. We think that is good gamers.
Our strategy is to put gamers at the centre of everything we do, and that has led us to support things like that where a developer wants to connect people on Steam, for example. They’re doing that today. In terms of connecting with gamers on the PlayStation Network, we fully support them to do that. And I believe they’re talking to Sony about it, but I don’t know the latest.
Rocket Leagues’ Psyonix are the ones trying to push through cross-network play between Xbox and PlayStation. Psyonix and Xbox are ready, so where does this leave Sony? Sony have been rather coy about the possibility despite showing signs of being open to the idea in the past generation of consoles. Thanks to a Eurogamer interview with Shuhei Yoshida, Yoshida suggests there’s no technical issue preventing cross-network play between PS4 and Xbox One. Rather, the debate will revolve around whether it is in Sony’s best interests to allow it.
That is, Sony’s PS4 is in a very strong position in the console space at the moment and they may not be as inclined to sign up to cross network play because they’re platform is doing pretty good so far this generation. However, I think it would be beneficial for players of all 3 platforms (Xbox One, PS4 & PC) as online communities will be larger and thus benefit from greater longevity.
There are of course some issues that could arise that may seem trivial but may actually play a larger part in this decision than one might think. Say if a player cheated or harassed a player on another platform, who would dish out the punishment or handle the case? Issues like these could be one of the difficulties facing cross network play between PlayStation and Xbox.