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Microsoft is still talking to Sony about cross-platform multiplayer

by Eric Frederiksen | August 24, 2017August 24, 2017 11:00 am EST

Soon, you’ll be able to play Minecraft and Rocket League with everyone. Everyone except PlayStation. Despite big strides in cross-platform gameplay with some of the biggest multiplayer games, Sony’s still resisting playing nice with the other kids. But Microsoft, bless their hearts, are trying.

“We’re talking to Sony,” said Microsoft marketing boss Aaron Greenberg. “We do partner with them on Minecraft and of course we would like to enable them to be part of that: one community to unite gamers. So we’re talking to them and hopeful that they’ll be supportive of it.”

And while Microsoft execs are pushing from the top, indie devs like Rocket League studio Psyonix are pushing from the bottom. Dinosaur survival game ARK: Survival Evolved is yet another victim of Sony’s reticence to embrace the future everybody wants.

But what about our stakeholders?

This has been a long slog for Microsoft. After the announcement of Minecraft‘s “Better Together” update at E3, Sony execs were asked about the idea of cross-platform multiplayer. Sony’s Jim Ryan tried to offer up user safety as a good reason not to, but Xbox head Phil Spencer was rightfully offended. If Nintendo’s in, that argument doesn’t hold much water. The other argument Ryan offered was that Sony’s stakeholders wouldn’t be pleased. That one is likely much more accurate and even less palatable. Sony has a huge lead over Microsoft and Nintendo in the console space, so there’s not really any good reason for them to open up their playground – everyone’s already in.

Microsoft is making some missteps lately, but its on the right course with this, and I hope Microsoft’s execs keep hammering on it and force the issue. Once Minecraft bursts the gates open, more and more games are sure to follow. And why not? It’s good for everyone involved – console makers, game developers, and gamers all benefit from this. Even Sony.


Eric Frederiksen

Eric Frederiksen has been a gamer since someone made the mistake of letting him play their Nintendo many years ago, pushing him to beg for his own,...