Recently, Microsoft announced it wanted PS4 and Xbox One owners to play together in online multiplayer. It was a pleasant surprise from a company, and an industry, notorious for locking away users from competitors. Many thought Sony, being the current industry leader, would never return the favor, but Sony made it clear that if nothing else, their minds are open:
PlayStation has been supporting cross-platform play between PC on several software titles starting with Final Fantasy 11 on PS2 and PC back in 2002. We would be happy to have the conversation with any publishers or developers who are interested in cross platform play.
It’s an interesting statement for a couple of reasons. One, Sony opens the door not just to Xbox One, but also PC in the statement, which seems to be their way of saying “You don’t have to strip out the PC compatibility if you’re developing for the Xbox One, as well” and two, they take the ball and chuck it to the developers. The door, seemingly, is open, someone just has to walk through it.
The fact that Sony responded at all is telling. Few expected them to take up Microsoft’s invitation in the first place, and indeed, Sony might not be all that willing to open up PSN when it comes down to it. That said, though, as a business decision, this makes sense. Sony and Microsoft both have been working to better streamline development and make it easier to release games on their platforms, and multiplayer games can become deserts quickly. Cross-platform play would give more life to multiplayer games, something major publishers generally need.
The main question is who will try first. A likely candidate would be the upcoming Destiny sequel, but we won’t be surprised if this opens the floodgates. After all, the more players on a server, the happier those players are.