Don’t Worry About Sony’s Cross-Play Issue

Fortnite has become the next huge gaming phenomenon. Over 125 million people are playing this game, including, who initially found the game as unstimulating. Knowing Fortnite recently released on the Nintendo Switch, I decided to give the game another shot, despite the Switch being significantly less powerful than current gen platforms and the port suffering with frame rate instability. Unexpectedly, I play far better on the Switch than PlayStation 4 and immediately binged several rounds. (My best Solo match was 5th place.) Giving word to my Sick Critic colleagues about my enjoyment of the game, we chose to squad up. Both of my colleagues played on Xbox One whereas I stayed on Nintendo Switch. We wouldn’t have done that if either Nintendo or Microsoft closed their doors to cross-play like Sony is currently doing much to the gaming community’s dismay.


Image result for playstation


While I have the luxury of owning multiple gaming devices, there are undoubtedly millions of players who lack the opportunity of enjoying a game online with friends on another platform due to them solely owning a Sony platform. This is an inconvenience caused by a corporation’s unwillingness to play well with their competition. Defenders of their position claim this is due to Sony dominating in multiple markets such as Europe, South America, and parts of North America. If most people own a PlayStation, cross-play would be unnecessary as the player pool is bountiful and they likely have friends who own the same system. Some of the opposition of Sony’s position go as far to say this will severely damage the PlayStation brand in the future.

We know cross-play is a highly requested feature even with PlayStation fans like myself. The demand is high enough for CNBC analysts to criticize Sony’s refusal to the idea. PlayStation is a major breadwinner that investors of the gaming industry feel very optimistic about. They’re the market leaders, so there’s not much they could lose from cross-play. Third-party publishers like Bethesda showing disappointment in Sony are also adding pressure on the issue. This is a much bigger deal than some people make it out to be. It’s less of a vocal minority on Reddit and more of a vocal piece of the pie in the entire gaming industry.


Image result for stock market

Image source:


As for those claiming this will be the Achilles’ heel for PlayStation, let’s come back to reality for a second. Even if Sony never allows cross-play with other consoles, they haven’t been accepting it for years now and the PS4 hasn’t slowed down. Now that Microsoft and Nintendo are promoting it with popular games like Minecraft (I’ll touch upon that later) and Fortnite, the demand for the feature dramatically increased, so would that impact sales of the PS4? Again, I doubt it. Marvel’s Spider-Man and Red Dead Redemption II will drive sales for the rest of the year, especially since both of those games have the Sony label on them (one for exclusivity and the other for marketing rights and exclusive content). What could be impacted is digital revenue from games like Fortnite and Minecraft. People will simply play on other devices, even with the account locking of Fortnite. Players could create new Epic accounts and use them as the primary ones, so revenue will flow more frequently with Nintendo and Microsoft, but slightly less so with Sony. Again, I say slightly due to both Switch and Xbox sharing smaller install bases than PS4.


Image result for minecraft


That, I believe, is the worst case scenario. Say Sony doesn’t budge into the next generation and they have to re-establish market dominance. This is where I think Sony will have to compromise. The Big Three now have clean slates and must fight for our money. Microsoft knows that consumer-friendliness is key to introducing a new console, Nintendo knows that third and first-party support is vital for their platform, and Sony knows that consumers like reasonable cost and policies and simplicity with a new console. Cross-play is now most definitely on Sony’s agenda moving forward. How and when they implement it is up to them. For example, Minecraft is a Microsoft product and Xbox Achievements are acquirable on Nintendo Switch, which lacks an achievement system, unlike the PS4. If Sony lets Microsoft know that they won’t accept Xbox Achievements on their platform, then they could work around it.

Cross-play is an eventuality and not the most urgent one at that. To the casual audience, not being able to play with a friend on another system online sounds like common sense. They wouldn’t follow gaming news and would invite their friends over for local multiplayer. To the enthusiast audience, the lack of cross-play is a nuisance for PlayStation-only owners. Account locking is certainly a step above that, but not every multiplayer game has third-party account systems controlled by Sony. While the outrage may have been too strong for a situation like this, it is justifiable to feel angry at Sony. Will they change their position? I have very little doubt they will. With this amount of pressure from the community and the industry, it’d be impossible to ignore the demands.


Image result for ps plus


This won’t last forever. Hell, I’d bet that Sony’s working on a plan to implement cross-play as we speak. Maybe they’ll let us log in to PSN through Nintendo Switch to keep our Epic Accounts for Fortnite. They clearly want to find a way to make a profit from cross-play, especially considering Shawn Layden’s recent statement on the matter. Perhaps only Plus members can use cross-play? While that sounds scummy, keep in mind that Microsoft requires a Gold subscription to play even free online games and they allow cross-play as well. They’d be on an equal level of scum as their competition. They’ll take an approach that will be received both favorably and unfavorably by the community. “Great, they finally listened to us and allowed cross-play! Do we really need to do that to enjoy it, though?” Call me a pessimist or optimist, but Layden’s statement was pretty clear to me.

What do you think Sony will do with cross-play? Do you see it as an eventuality or is Sony too confident in their first-party lineup to care about anything else? This is an admittedly dated discussion, but an interesting talking point. Please leave your thoughts down in the comments below.

No comments

Leave a Reply


Links Awakening Cover Art

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening Review

The original Link’s Awakening has a special place in the hearts of those who played it. Its surreal, Twin Peaks-inspired atmosphere and its character-driven story combined to create a unique…

September 22, 2019, 93

The Sojourn Review – Le Pneuma, Portal Deux

Well, I’m sure we’ve done this rodeo… many, many times.   From Portal to Pneuma, Qube to Quantum Conundrum, Braid to The Bridge, blah blah blah, we have another one after so long. The ol’ narrative puzzle-platformer dance that’s…

September 20, 2019, 75

September PlayStation State of Play Announced

It’s been a while since we’ve gotten one of these. After five months of near radio silence with the last month airing in early May, Sony announced that the third…

September 19, 2019, 56
Isometric gameplay still of Disco Elysium, portraying gunplay

Disco Elysium Announced for October 15th Release

The long-anticipated open-world detective RPG Disco Elysium has a release date and it’s sooner than you may expect! Developer ZA/UM’s intricate translation of pen-and-paper character development to a stylish isometric…

September 18, 2019, 64
Cinematic still of skateboarding simulator Session, showing player's character olleying off a ledge

Early Access Launch Trailer for Session Has Released

It’s been a vacant few years for skateboarding games in the aftermath of the implosion of the Tony Hawk franchise, and EA’s radio silence on the trajectory for Skate, but…

September 17, 2019, 190
Cover art for the first 3 dragon quest games that are now coming to Nintendo Switch

The First Three Dragon Quest Games Are Coming Soon to Switch

Publisher Square Enix has announced via twitter that the original three Dragon Quest games are coming to the Nintendo Switch. All three games are coming to the eShop on September…

September 16, 2019, 77
PlayStation 4

PlayStation 4 Surpasses 30 Million Units In United States Market

PlayStation 4 is nothing short of a resounding success for console manufacturer Sony. The console reached the impressive 100 million units shipped milestone faster than any other console, making it…

September 16, 2019, 59
The Game Awards Logo

Geoff Keighley Announces the Date for The Game Awards 2019

Geoff Keighley is not only famous for making a cameo appearance in Death Stranding, he also created The Game Awards – the annual celebration of the best of the best…

September 13, 2019, 100
Girls doing yoga using Ring Con controller

Do Yoga, Kill Monsters in Ring Fit Adventure on Switch

Last week Nintendo shared a pretty bizarre teaser trailer showing happy families getting physical with a mysterious ring-shaped peripheral. Today they drew back the curtain and officially announced Ring Fit…

September 12, 2019, 127
Left Alive gameplay image, features main character Mikhail behind cover

Left Alive Postmortem Review– Metal Gear Slop

Dead in the Water Amidst the legendary blowouts of its contemporaries Anthem and Fallout 76, it is the relatively under-the-radar Left Alive that has been given the bomb beneath the…

September 9, 2019, 193