One of the bigger debates that has emerged this console generation is whether or not competing consoles should offer cross-play capabilities between each other when it comes to major platform games like PUBG or Fortnite.
Needless to say, on an industry that was once built almost entirely on exclusive titles, the idea of PlayStation owners and Xbox gamers playing together is an interesting one.
Microsoft, for their part, have expressed approval of the venture and actually blame Sony for hampering cross-play efforts.
But when you look at Sony’s market position it is not hard to see why they would want to do that. The PlayStation 4 has absolutely dominated this generation and cross-play almost seems to be a luxury Sony can afford to leave behind.
Sony forced to support cross-play for PS5?
At least for this console generation it can, but who knows about the next one. That’s why many people think that cross-play will not only become more common but probably an industry standard in the future.
Why? Mainly because it will be tough to launch without features that other consoles have.
There is little doubt that the next Xbox machine will have robust interfacing capabilities with Windows-powered PCs, among other things. Sony would be remiss to not recognize that this gives the Xbox Live community an even larger playground so to speak. If there’s anything Microsoft has consistently done right with the Xbox brand from the beginning, it has been online gaming.
Another reason why cross-play options will be commonplace is that there is no evidence that cross-play somehow limits a console’s ability to attract exclusive titles. In fact, if you look at a lot of the PlayStation 4’s success, it is built upon the back of exclusive titles that Sony themselves developed. There’s nothing preventing Sony from continuing to do this in the future. This way Sony maintains the advantage exclusive titles give but also give gamers as many options as possible to connect with others.
eSports set to drive cross-play forward
Perhaps a tangential reason supporting cross-play expansion in the future is the growth of eSports. Because, by default, cross-play options make a gaming community that much larger for a gamer, the individual will be exposed to a wider range of gamers than they would be a walled-off garden. This means that they can hone their skills against the entire game’s community rather than a subset.
Further, it would make it a lot easier for recruiters to discover talent this way because players would be drawn from a common pool. Though the difference in skill levels of players between console communities might be negligible, when you’re truly looking for the best having a common pool of resources often helps in finding that.
You’re probably wondering why a lot of this article focuses on Sony, and that’s because they’re the main impediment to making this happen. Heck, even Nintendo is pretty open to the idea.
Many people expect that Sony will keep their console race edge with the PS5, but all of that will probably boil down to games and options.