Sony has said “no” to cross-network compatibility, and that’s a bad thing.
If you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed a trend when it comes to all these big cross-platform announcements at E3. Minecraft is coming to Nintendo Switch and players will be able to connect across all methods of access, including mobile and PC. Same story when it comes to Psyonix and Rocket League. There’s just one notable exception to the list of consoles attending the cross-platform party.
PREVIOUSLY: ROCKET LEAGUE IS COMING TO NINTENDO SWITCH
Sony, for whatever reason, has decided they don’t like their players having fun with anyone other than other PlayStation users.
It’s an oddly vexing decision, especially considering that Minecraft and Rocket League are two of the biggest games in the world right now, with tens of millions of players between them. Rocket League, in particular, is a registered eSport game with international teams competing regularly, so PlayStation being its own little fiefdom will forever shut them out of any competitive tournaments.
Even Minecraft employees are pleading to have PlayStation on board with unified gaming:
We would love to have PlayStation players along with the unified Minecraft, hope that we can. https://t.co/hRGPG8Aj8a— Aubrey Norris (@Chupacaubrey) June 11, 2017
So what gives, Sony?
It turns out we’re not the first to ask the question. In an interview with Eurogamer, PlayStation global sales and marketing head Jim Ryan said it all had to do with money.
"It's certainly not a profound philosophical stance we have against this. We've done it in the past," said Jim. "Unfortunately it's a commercial discussion between ourselves and other stakeholders, and I'm not going to get into the detail of that on this particular instance."
So Sony shareholders are to blame? Evidently they never got to play with the other kids in the sandbox.
When pressed why PlayStation would remain on its own, Jim gave a response that was so laughable it was almost sad:
"We've got to be mindful of our responsibility to our install base. Minecraft - the demographic playing that, you know as well as I do, it's all ages but it's also very young. 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."
That explanation rings especially false since Nintendo, without doubt the world’s most kid-friendly console maker for over a decade, is onboard with cross-platform access for both Minecraft and Rocket League. It also makes it seem like Sony is the overprotective father trying to keep their kids safe as they go off to high school prom.
The true reason likely has to do with PlayStation’s network, and how they’d rather not invest the money required to make it communicate with so many other devices. Sony also has had problems with security in the past, and it could be they’re not confident they’d be able to alter their network to allow cross-platform gaming without simultaneously opening up a bajillion security holes.
Whatever the reason, the internet has proven that no console is an island, and we’re all having more fun when we do it together.