Back in March Microsoft proposed the idea of linking Xbox Live with Sony’s PSN, allowing cross-play between PS4 and Xbox One players. While this idea has been on people’s minds for quite some time, this was the first formal invitation to Sony to link both consoles’ online services. The Japanese company’s response was cordial, although Sony did not want to take any immediate action to allow PS4 and Xbox One cross-play anytime soon.
Also, Psyonix, makers of one of 2015’s top video games Rocket League, has claimed to have the logistics of PS4 and Xbox One cross-play worked out, although what remained to be solved according to Psyonix was “a matter of politics”. And more recently, Xbox co-creator Ed Fries, who left Microsoft in 2004 and who previously worked with current Xbox boss Phil Spencer, has said that he hopes “that Sony is going to respond” and that he expects “more respect and cooperation between those two groups”, in an interview with IGN.
So will Sony allow PS4 and Xbox One cross-play in the near future? This is unlikely for several reasons, chief of which is the PS4’s huge lead in sales this gen. Actually, Sony’s console has sold more than 40 million units to date, likely more than twice the number of Xbox One’s sold (Microsoft is not reporting sales data for the Xbox One anymore though).
But if all of a sudden PS4 and Xbox One owners could play together online, getting one console or the other would be less of an issue… Because given the PS4’s huge installed user base, gamers are more likely to get Sony’s machine to play online games like Overwatch with their friends, who are more likely to own a PS4 after all.
So it obviously is not in Sony’s interests to allow this, as the decision of whether to get the PS4 or Xbox One would matter less. Also, given that the PS4 is the graphically superior console, cross-play would require games to run at a lower resolution if the Xbox One version of the game featured a lower resolution than the PS4 one (which has been the case with many games this generation), in order to ensure a smooth online multiplayer experience. Again, it is hard to see how this sort of situation would be advantageous for Sony in any way…
In the end though, it is clear that Sony might see Microsoft’s idea of linking the Xbox Live and PlayStation Network more as a curse than a blessing, meaning this isn’t happening anytime soon, especially taking into account the PS4’s success this generation and the fact that it is the console to own in many gamer’s minds now.
PS4 user interface screenshot
COPYRIGHT: Sony Computer Entertainment America.