Phil Spencer Pessimistic About Chances Of Xbox One/PS4 Cross-Play

That brief moment where Fortnite enabled cross-play might be the closest we ever get.

The discussion of cross-play between PlayStation and Xbox has been a hot topic for a few years now. Microsoft have been honest about their intentions to one day enable the function, but Sony have been playing hardball on this issue. It’s the business equivalent of Microsoft turning up on Sony’s doorstep with flowers, only for Sony to burn the flowers. It’s precisely the same as that. I said it.

Enabling this feature doesn’t seem to be a difficulty issue, as Fortnite had cross-play enabled when it launched its Battle Royale mode last month, though this was revealed to be a mistake by the developers Epic Games. Still, for a few short hours, we could believe that the dream was alive.

Sony have been stonewalling Microsoft on this issue for a good while now, preventing cross-play on games like Rocket League and Minecraft. Minecraft is an especially rough one when you consider the Better Together update, which enables cross play between Xbox, PC, VR, mobile and eventually the Nintendo Switch. Meanwhile, PlayStation users are left out in the cold for no reason.

Phil Spencer, current head of Xbox, has been vocal on this issue before, and took the opportunity during an interview with Gamespot at the Brazil Game Show to give his thoughts on the situation:

“We talk to Sony all the time. With Minecraft on PlayStation, we have to be one of the biggest games on their platform in terms of sales and gameplay. Same with Nintendo. The relationship with Nintendo on this front has been strong. They’ve been great supporters and we continue to collaborate with them. But I think Sony’s view is different. They should talk about what their view is…

“I have a real struggle making comments about their motivation or timelines. I know there is a certain view that says if my friends have this console, they can’t play with people who buy another console. That’s a reason they go buy my console. That reason is not going to go away. So we’re putting Minecraft out there as one of the biggest games on any platform and allowing people to play together regardless of what device they bought. I don’t think everybody is taking that same approach to the ecosystem. So I’m never going to call anything a lost cause but I think some of the fundamental reasons and certain scenarios, they’re not really going away. So I don’t know what would change.”

Not exactly an optimistic outlook from one of the staunchest advocates for cross-play in the industry, but he’s not completely lost hope either. At the end of the day, the ball is in Sony’s court. Microsoft have done everything in their power to convince Sony, it’s up to Sony to agree to it. The question is, do you think Sony should? Answers on a postcard, please. Or in the comments.

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