Back at E3 2017, Microsoft made headlines when they announced that Minecraft’s Better Together update would enable cross-play multiplayer between Xbox One, Windows 10, Nintendo Switch as well as mobile platforms. But unfortunately for PlayStation gamers, Sony declined to play ball, defending their refusal to open up cross-network play by the necessity to protect younger gamers.
In the following months, Microsoft said that it has been in discussions with Sony to enable cross-play on the Playstation 4 version of Minecraft, but things aren’t looking good so far. In a recent interview with GameSpot, Xbox Chief Phil Spencer shared that he’s unsure if Sony will ever have a change of mind about it. He explained:
"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," he said. "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."
For Spencer, crossplay multiplayer is positive for gamers, game developers as well as the video games industry as a whole. “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," he explained. But Sony, which has the best-selling console of this generation may have no interest to play nice with other platforms, for now at least.
In the meantime, if cross-platform multiplayer does matter to you, then the Xbox One remains the better choice. In addition to Minecraft, several Microsoft Studios titles such as Gears of War 4 or Forza Horizon 3 already support cross-play between Xbox One and Windows 10, and the fighting game Killer Instinct even supports it between Steam, Windows 10 and Xbox One. Do you think Sony will have to change its stance at some point, or do you think the company is more interested in keeping PS4 players in a walled garden? Let us know below.