Kenichiro Yoshida, Sony’s new overall CEO recently made some controversial comments on cross-play, and now an Xbox executive has responded via Twitter. Xbox engineering expert, Mike Ybarra said on Twitter that Sony is still not paying attention to gamers on the cross-playing issue. The Xbox executive believes that all games should be cross-played and progression with the right input flexibility and gamer options. Cross-play is the feature that allows players from different platforms to come together in unity and total pwnage. For example, a player with an Xbox console with cross-play function can play with gamers from another console who have the same game, like Nintendo Switch. While the number of games that can be cross-played is not big, there is a growing movement, a movement that Sony has decided not to support.
However, what is causing this controversy is not necessarily the fact that Sony is rejecting Cross-Play, it is that despite their promises of “paying attention to what gamers want,” they are unashamedly ignoring the many requests from gamers to allow Cross-Play on PS4 with other consoles like Xbox One and the Switch. This controversy started off when Fortnite was accidentally cross-played between PS4 and Xbox One, and when Sony realized this, it shut it down. Their primary reason for the shutdown at that time was one of “security” instead of vanity.
However, that changed when Sony’s CEO said that the company believed that the best place to play Fortnite is on PS4. So, this basically went from “we are doing this for your personal security and safety” to “if you want to play games the right way, you will have to do it on our systems.” Needless to say, gamers were not happy with this.
When a gamer pointed out to Ybarra that Sony’s PS4 has been outselling the Xbox One for a long time, Ybarra pointed out that Microsoft operates in the Windows PC and console space which expands its gaming footprint considerably. He also suggested that what Sony is doing is a disservice to its users by failing to support cross-play.
Ybarra spoke at the IFA conference in Berlin recently, while referring to what Yoshida said, he suggested that Sony does not support cross-play since the Sony as a company believes that “the best place to play” is on PS4. Yoshida confirmed this in an interview with The Independent.
Yoshida stressed that Sony supports cross-play between PC and PS4, and that going forward the company will “decide based on what is good for the users.” He added that he believes the competition between Nintendo and Xbox is “always good.” Yoshida took up the CEO position at Sony earlier this year after its longtime CEO Kazuo Hirai stepped down.
Going back to Xbox and Ybarra, someone asked the exec to explain why Microsoft requires players to pay for Xbox Live Gold membership for some of the free-to-play betas and games while Sony does not. Ybarra never responded.
Games such as Minecraft, Fortnite, and Rocket League support cross-play between Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, but not PlayStation 4. A while back, Sony said that it was confident that it will find a solution to the cross-play issue so that it can satisfy all gamers and also meets its businesses considerations but that is yet to materialize.