Crossplay is one of the most consumer-friendly features a gaming platform can support. That’s why Microsoft and the Xbox brand saw it as a huge win, and why I’ve been bewildered by Sony’s apparent distaste for it. Sony has long said that PlayStation crossplay doesn’t help the company’s business, and has worked to suppress it as best it could on PlayStation consoles. According to a recent interview with Axios (via Destructoid), however, it seems Sony may be ready to quit fighting the feature and just let developers have what they want.
“We support and encourage cross-play,” PlayStation head Jim Ryan said to Axios while listing off a number of PlayStation titles that support it currently. He then added, “That number will continue to grow.”
Interestingly, as Axios mentioned in its piece, the issue of Sony blocking crossplay came up in the past few months when Borderlands 3 developer Gearbox was apparently forced to remove PlayStation crossplay from an update for that title. What Ryan had to say about that was less than crystal clear.
“Regarding ‘Borderlands,’ Ryan told Axios he didn’t want to talk about a ‘live business issue with a long-standing partner,’ but noted ‘our policies are consistent across all of the publishers.'”
Seeing as this is still a “live business issue,” I’m not quite sure what to make of that situation, though I can offer up a guess. We learned during the Epic vs. Apple trial last month that Epic was actually paying Sony for the ability to have PlayStation crossplay implemented. Suppose every other developer is doing the same, and suppose Gearbox didn’t want to pay that money. Is that the issue here? Is Sony blocking Borderlands 3 crossplay because its developer won’t fork over the required cash?
Hopefully some brave soul steps forward and sheds a bit more light on the Borderlands 3 debacle soon.
While it’s positive to see Jim Ryan speaking well of crossplay, I think we should hold back our praise until every game that wants to support it can do it. Otherwise, what we have in actuality are new words tacked on to the same old story.
We’ll keep you posted if we hear any more about Borderlands 3 or any other title potentially getting PlayStation crossplay. Destiny 2 is one such title slated to get the feature in the months ahead — we’ll have to see how that shakes out.