If there’s one thing that the Internet loves doing; it’s getting what it wants, how it wants it. And why wouldn’t it? The Internet is a collection of people, where we can scream into the void and not have to worry about it echoing back at us. Sadly, the echo does hit people, and it can lead to people deleting social media accounts; and as Sony has shown us, it can scare an international company too. Sony has started an open beta for Fortnite, and this might mean a bright future for cross-play and console users. A lot of people are excited about this change, but I personally am not. Because Sony already gave the world a chance at cross-play and Microsoft said no.
For those that don’t remember, much like me until someone brought it to my attention; this isn’t the first time Sony has worked with cross-play. Remember Defiance? I don’t either, but it was a PS3, Xbox 360, and PC game from 2013 about shooting aliens or something, which had a TV show spin off-but that’s not the point we’re focusing on. Stephen Totilo, a game journalist, released an article on how surprised he was to see an Xbox 360 and a PlayStation 3 to be playing the same game, together in a multiplayer setting. Why does this matter? Because the release didn’t have cross-play, only the developer copies did.
As Stephen Totilo reported, “‘Microsoft won’t let Sony players play against them,” Rodberg said, before suggesting we change the topic to something less sensitive.” He goes on to state how he reached out to Microsoft to clarify that Rodberg, one of the developers for Defiance, was correct about this. A Micrcosoft spokesperson stated to Totilo, “Xbox Live delivers the best entertainment experience unmatched by anyone else, with 35 million actively engaged members. We have a high level of expectation for our game developers to ensure that all Live experiences remain top notch. Because we can’t guarantee this level of quality, or control the player experience on other consoles or gaming networks, we currently do not open our network to games that allow this cross-over capability.” This quote can be found in the earlier mentioned article, but why the change in heart in 2018? Why is Sony the one making this claim, while Microsoft and Nintendo are opening their doors? Money. That’s why.
The Xbox One has so many versions, that as a PlayStation user, I couldn’t list them if I tried. But I do know why Microsoft has released so many, and it’s for the same reason my household has a PlayStation 4 and not an Xbox One. With how rough the Xbox launch was, from permanent internet connection needed and physical games being nothing more than a one-time install disk; it lost to PlayStation, causing the loss of a lot of fans. This gave Sony the upper hand in the console war, to the point where many thought Sony had won it. What did Sony do with this new found fame and trust from loyal and new fans? They took it and ran! Like anyone would! And when it came time for the Minecraft Better Together Update, Sony said no thanks, as they didn’t need the cross-play functionality to continue being the best. Sony had the throne and when Microsoft scrambled to regain it, Sony wasn’t about to give it up that easy.
Are the times changing? Yes, and Sony has identified that. Was Sony wrong for locking Fortnite accounts on their console? Yes, as it was unfair to the fans. Should Sony offer cross-play just because other services do? No, they have a right to run their company how they see fit, and after being burned in the past by other console companies; Sony owes them nothing. The Internet bullied Sony into giving them cross-play, and I hope Sony doesn’t cave.