Before you read on, I have to put up a couple of disclaimers. First, you can consider me a PlayStation fangirl. I have been on Sony’s side of the console war ever since I was young and I have never been given a good enough reason to switch to Microsoft or Nintendo yet. Even with that, that will not stop me from calling out Sony for doing ridiculous things like what I’m about to talk about. So don’t make comments saying I’m bashing them because I’m an Xbox or Nintendo shill because I’m far from it. Second, I’m not a big Fortnite for the simple reason that I’m not a big online gamer. I do play Street Fighter V online once in a while but I’m more of a gamer that enjoys playing a solo campaign. Basically, what I’m saying is that I’m far from the highest authority when it comes to online gaming as a whole.
With that being said, I still believe Sony should stop acting so superior and actually allow cross platform play for online games. More so, they should allow PlayStation users who have gaming accounts with other systems to be used on whatever console they so choose without any penalty.
Sony refusing to allow PlayStation users to play with and/or against gamers who own a competing console like Microsoft’s Xbox One and Nintendo Wii U/Switch users isn’t a new thing. There are several multiplatform games out there such as Rocket League and Minecraft that PlayStation gamers have but don’t have the option to play with Xbox One nor Nintendo Switch users. But things came to a head with the Fortnite account lock debacle. Not only did Sony lock PS4 Fortnite users from only playing against their console brethren, they also locked out the third-party game’s account to the system, meaning you can’t import or export your Fortnite account to other systems!
This wouldn’t be too much of an issue if the other consoles didn’t allow cross platform online play on their consoles but this isn’t the case. Microsoft, Nintendo and PC users are all gleefully driving cars into giant soccer balls in Rocket League, collaborating on constructing elaborate structures in Minecraft and generally having a blast blasting each other into smithereens in Fortnite in one space. Sure, Sony gamers can do the same but only within the gated community of the PlayStation Network.
Sony’s explanation as to why they’re hesitant to open the gates and allow cross platform play is because they’re worried about letting in the undesirables in. Okay, that may seem like an overstatement but that the gist of it. The excuse that came from the mouth of Jim Ryan, the head of Sony’s global sales and marketing, is, and I quote, “We have a contract with the people who go online with us, that we look after them and they are within the PlayStation curated universe. Exposing what in many cases are children to external influences we have no ability to manage or look after, it’s something we have to think about very carefully.” Basically, they just want to protect the children. Aww, isn’t that sweet?
Of course, this is a hollow excuse because Nintendo, one of the most “family friendly” and “wholesome” companies out there, is allowing cross platform play with the “dangerous” and “unruly” Xbox One and PC gamers. I think Sony’s plans are more nefarious and leans more on the arrogant side of things. I believe Sony wants to lock PlayStation users to the system and even keeping them loyal to the brand. They’re afraid of showing what’s the color of the grass outside their fence because some PlayStation users may think the grass is greener. But it’s much more than fear. I think Sony doesn’t want to enable cross platform play because they’re currently on top of the console gaming mountain in this generation.
Right now, the Sony PlayStation is the most dominant home gaming console out there. A lot of it has to do with, oddly enough, some of the arrogant and stupid decisions that Microsoft and Nintendo have made in the past. It took Nintendo to get their consoles online and, even when they did, they really couldn’t figure out how to do it properly. This led to them doing things like those complicated Friend codes, which was a hassle to use and even harder to remember. And who could forget Microsoft’s initial idiotic plans for the Xbox One, with its “always online” connection, forcing fans to get the new Kinect with it and plans to block the sales of used games since you have to authenticate the games you own every 24 hours. Sony took no time of taking advantage on these errors and seriously even make fun of their competitors for these blunders.
Sony became the “cool” system to get as they seemed more consumer friendly and not out to shill their customer base. And this was a fact for a good while and it showed with the sales of their PS4 outselling the Xbox One and Wii U handily for this current console generation. This definitely increased the number of people playing on their system and I think this is why they don’t feel the need to open the floodgates of cross play. They already have the biggest install base today. Why should they even allow others in? They have the upper hand so why should they stoop down to the level of the other “lowly” consoles when they can just play with other PlayStation gamers?
The sad thing is Sony is being very short sighted regarding the entire cross platform play situation and it’s not like they haven’t learned anything from the mistakes of others. To Microsoft’s credit, they did listen to the criticisms fans had and removed the requirement for constantly staying online and even removing the Kinect. Nintendo is still playing catch up on the online department as their current plans just don’t seem as robust as with the Xbox and PSN but they are forward thinking enough to allow the Switch to play with other systems.
Microsoft and Nintendo are trying to adapt to the current situation by listening to the complaints fans have and actually doing something about it. Sony, on the other hand, claim to be listening to fans who want cross platform play but they seem steadfast with their decision to herd their owners in the same gated community, which is just a terrible business decision because they’re not planning for the future. Sure, they’re currently on top of the world with the PS4 but they kind of struggled with their last-gen system, the PS3 as the system didn’t give a good impression when they first announced it with their high price tag of $600 for the “deluxe” 60GB hard drive version.
Sony adapted their pricing later on in the PS3 lifespan but that was only because they had to keep up with Microsoft’s Xbox 360. They only changed because they were in trouble. Now that their in the lead, Sony doesn’t feel the need to make any radical changes that’ll rock the boat. But this is a reckless move as no one knows what’s going to happen. Maybe a few years down the line, Sony will be struggling and then all of a sudden announce cross play functionality but by then, it may be too late.
I’m sorely disappointed in Sony for dragging its feet in the entire cross platform play situation while Microsoft and Nintendo have embraced it. This may not be the final nail on the coffin but why wait for someone to hammer it in when you can do something about it now.
Do you think Sony should allow cross platform play with other consoles? Let me know in the comments section below!