Microsoft dropped a huge announcement at E3 2017, bringing Cross-Play capabilities to Minecraft. The game is now unified across mobile, Nintendo Switch, mobile, Xbox One, and PC. However, Sony opted out, so Cross-Play is not coming to PlayStation 4. Xbox head Phil Spencer says Sony's position on the matter has no changed, despite talks.
Spencer has previously said talks with Sony were ongoing and there was a chance that the company would change its mind. However, in his latest remarks, he suspects Sony is not interested:
“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…”
The recently promoted Microsoft executive stopped at saying the situation is a lost cause. He said he cannot speak for Sony, but Spencer believes not embracing cross-platform gaming will ultimately hurt PS4 sales.
How the Story Unfolded
The saga has been long running. Sony did not commit to Microsoft's Cross-Play feature and questioned the integrity of the company's plans, arguing the protection of PS Network customers ware priority.
PlayStation global sales and marketing head Jim Ryan described the decision a “philosophical” one:
“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.”
Microsoft was unhappy about the comment and hit back and rubbished Sony's reason as excuse making. Spencer believes cross-platform gaming has major benefits for gamers:
“If it's better for gamers, I have a hard time thinking why we shouldn't go do this, especially when you're trying to make the gaming business a bigger business; grow it, get more games, create more opportunity. Especially in the indie space, actually. If you're creating an online indie game and you're going to create five [shards] of your game–the Steam version, Xbox Live on PC, Xbox version, the PlayStation version, the Switch version creates hard matchmaking scenarios. We should help developers, not make their lives more difficult.”