I’m a die-hard Xbox gamer. I’ve owned all three generations of hardware, and I still have problems with getting defensive when people talk trash about my choice of platform. That’s why the news about Sony being the odd one out when it comes to cross-play in Fortnite, Minecraft, and Rocket League evokes that feeling of schadenfreude.
But let’s be real here. The situation really isn’t that bad for Sony, and it’s not like they’re repeating a mistake they’ve made before. They’re operating from a position of strength, holding an unfathomably large lead in console sales over their rivals, all while offering some of the best exclusive games on the market. Their hardware at the start of this generation maintained the graphical and computational advantage all the way up until the Xbox One X launched. They’re the strong one of the Big Three, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon.
Pillar Of The Community
Sony’s PlayStation brand is at its strongest, only being toppled by the sales of their previous systems. The PS4 is already on track to surpass the performance of the PS3, and their PlayStation Network active users have never been higher. They’re riding the wave of popularity they’ve created for themselves through their excellent business practices and the woeful stupidity of their main competitor early on.
So while I know folks are tearing at their figurative robes and smearing themselves with ashes in despair that a handful of games that have cross-play don’t have that capability with the PS4, not much is going to change. Sony’s lead is already well carved out, and besides the sleaziness of locking Epic Games player accounts to the PS4, it isn’t as bad as people are making it out to be. The PS4 still has some of the best exclusive games on the market to this day, and holds one of the most loyal fanbases in console history. For many, the issue with cross-play is a minor inconvenience at its worst; something that select gaming news sites have blown way out of proportion.
Now I won’t go so far as to claim they don’t deserve the shade being thrown at them over the cross-play issue. In fact, I think it’s pretty hilarious to be honest. Clearly, Nintendo understands the advantage they hold in this situation by working with Microsoft, and it’s a happy accident that gamers benefit from this cooperation. Sony may be hurting the PlayStation brand by holding out, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to see any negative consequences as a result. The world is going to keep spinning, the PS4 is going to keep selling, and people are going to cool off about the issue.
I know I’m probably contradicting something I’ve said previously, but I doubt that this is evidence that Sony is somehow turning into an arrogant victor in the war of the consoles. First, the PS3 wasn’t a colossal bungle like the Xbox One originally was, and Sony’s reluctance to play nice with competitors isn’t the death knell of the PlayStation brand. They have interests to protect, no matter how petty and asinine they are.
Don’t get me wrong. Sony is being tremendously anti-consumer, but it isn’t like any gaming platform hasn’t been at some point. Microsoft and Nintendo are just as guilty of being enormous pricks to consumers. However, that doesn’t mean that Sony is excused of any negative backlash for their choices.
Sony could do with a little self-evaluation to make sure they aren’t gliding into the wrong flightpath. I know they can afford to spend a little of their goodwill on pursuits that will fortify their position as the dominant platform, but they’d best make sure their house is in order as long as they’re securing their foothold. After all, their competitors are chomping at the bit, and they’re working together now.
But calm down folks. It isn’t like Sony is locking down your games with always-online functionality or destroying content creators with copyright claims. They’re just holding their players back from playing with others.
What’s your take on Sony regarding cross-play? Do you think it matters that they aren’t letting their platform play with others, or is it just overblown nonsense? Is Sony destroying goodwill, or are they just fine doing their thing? Let’s hear it in the comments!
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