Come on now, Sony. Can’t we all just play nicely together? It’s not the first time you’ve been called out on your anti-crossplay shenanigans.
If you’re a gamer of a certain age, you’ll have fond (or not-so-fond) memories of the console wars of the nineties. It was all Mario vs Sonic trash talk, pettiness and fantastic Sega does what Nintendon’t PR slogans. Today, things are… well, exactly the same.
The battlefields may have moved from the schoolyard to internet forums and YouTube comment sections, but it’s the same old fight. PlayStation fans will talk smack about Xbox’s lack of exclusives, Xbox fans will hit back with the tech specs of Xbox One S (while totally not being bitter about Marvel’s Spider-Man, which they totally didn’t want to play anyway), Nintendo fans will preach that gameplay is king and graphics don’t matter at all.
PC gamers? Well, they’re the self-appointed master race, and always will be. The fact that we’re all gamers who should be celebrating that shared passion doesn’t seem to occur to a lot of people, sadly. Nevertheless, there is a shining beacon of hope, and that shining beacon is crossplay.
Crossplay is what it’s all about. PlayStation and Xbox, playing together in perfect harmony (side by side on my piano keyboard, oh Lord why can’t we-e-e?). Switch and PC players are welcome too, of course. We’re already enjoying the fruits of this idea in big titles like Fortnite and Wargroove, but Sony in particular have been super resistant to crossplay lately.
As we reported last year, a former Sony exec has claimed that this is simply all about money (“When I was at Sony… the stated reason internally for this was money. They didn't like someone buying something on an Xbox and it being used on a PlayStation. simple as that. dumb reason, but there it is,” claimed John Smedley), which is… well, probably right on the money. We all know what big businesses can be like, after all.
As infuriating as this issue is for the players, how about the developers? The CEO and President of Hi-Rez Studios (SMITE) is the latest to throw his hat into the ring on this issue, Tweeting that:
Hey @Sony @PlayStation. It's time to stop playing favorites and tear down the crossplay/progression wall for everyone. We have @SMITEGame, @PaladinsGame, @RealmRoyale ready to go when you are. https://t.co/KNDetpXPf5— HiRezStew (@schisam) February 8, 2019
He then unleashed the second salvo of his one-two punch, arguing that crossplay improves the experience for everybody:
Xplay improves match quality in multiplayer games. When we added crossplay between Paladins Xbox and Switch:— HiRezStew (@schisam) February 8, 2019
>> Wait time reduced 30%
>> Level spread between players down 40%
>> 40% reduction in ELO std deviation per match
>> 80% reduction in "Bad" matches (by our internal defn)
What do you say then, Sony? The ball’s in your court. If you’re as serious about this for the players stuff as you say you are, how about putting pettiness aside and acting on that?