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Sony Blocks Yet Another Game From Cross-Console Play With Xbox One (arstechnica.com) 151

"Back in June, Sony told Eurogamer that the company did not have 'a profound philosophical stance' against letting PS4 users play games with those on other platforms," reports Ars Technica. "That said, the company's continued refusal to allow for cross-console play between PS4 and Xbox One players has become an absolute and unmistakable trend in recent months." The latest game to be denied by Sony for cross-console play is Ark: Survival Evolved, which comes out of a two-year early access period next week on Windows, Mac, PS4, and Xbox One. From the report: In a Twitter response posted over the weekend, Ark lead designer and programmer Jeremy Stieglitz said that cross-platform play between PS4 and Xbox One is "working internally, but currently Sony won't allow it." This isn't a huge surprise, considering that the developers of Rocket League, Minecraft, and Gwent have made similar statements in recent months. Since Microsoft very publicly opened Xbox Live to easy cross-platform play back in March, Sony has said that it's "happy to have a conversation" about the issue, but it has failed to follow through by allowing any linkage between the two competing consoles (cross-platform play between the PS4 and PC has been available in certain games since the PS4's launch, though).

The question continues to be why, exactly, Sony seems so reluctant to allow any games to work between its own PlayStation Network and Microsoft's Xbox Live. Speaking with Eurogamer in June, Sony's Jim Ryan suggested that, in the case of Minecraft, Sony was wary to expose that game's young players to "external influences we have no ability to manage or look after." Ryan also told Eurogamer that cross-platform decisions were "a commercial discussion between ourselves and other stakeholders." That suggests there may be some financial issues between the parties involved that are preventing cross-console play from moving forward. Perhaps Sony wants someone else to pay for the work required to get its network talking to Microsoft's? The bottom line, though, might be that Sony just doesn't want to partially give away its sizable advantage in console sales by letting Microsoft hook into that vast network of players.

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Sony Blocks Yet Another Game From Cross-Console Play With Xbox One

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  • You have ask why? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @05:38AM (#55068673)

    The question continues to be why, exactly, Sony seems so reluctant to allow any games to work between its own PlayStation Network and Microsoft's Xbox Live

    How stupid do you need to be that you need to ask why? There can be only one reason: MONEY.

    PSN has more players than XBL, letting both play with each other benefits Microsoft much more than Sony. Why would Sony do something this stupid?

    This is Karma, having abused its leading Windows market share for decades, this is just a small taste of their own medicine for Microsoft.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Indeed, whoever is so STUPID as to give SONY their money deserves all their grief. Stop supporting companies that have no respect for you or the law, ie: SONY.

      • Indeed, whoever is so STUPID as to give SONY their money deserves all their grief. Stop supporting companies that have no respect for you or the law, ie: SONY.

        Agreed. That also goes for Microsoft. Don't give money to either one of them. They're both equally bad; arguing over which is worse is like arguing Hitler vs. Stalin.

        • Ah yes, this is the quality analysis I come here for: comparing two large companies who use time-honoured methods to benefit their bottom line to two of the worst mass murderers of the twentieth century.

          Stay classy, slashdot!
          • Ah yes, this is the typical Slashdotter that can't comprehend English: mistaking a simple analogy as a direct comparison.

            Grishnakh isn't comparing apples (Microsoft) to oranges (Hitler), (s)he is saying that comparing apples (Microsoft) to apples (Sony) is like comparing oranges (Hitler) to oranges (Stalin).

            • Grishnakh isn't comparing apples (Microsoft) to oranges (Hitler), (s)he is saying that comparing apples (Microsoft) to apples (Sony) is like comparing oranges (Hitler) to oranges (Stalin).

              You are correct. He is, however comparing Apple vs Microsoft to Hitler vs Stalin. Which is exactly the kind of pointless hyperbole over basic, boring corporate decisions that keeps him a virgin.
      • It sucks because they have the better console. But the best solution is to just ditch consoles and join the PCMR.
    • As a consumer I don't care what is good for the company - I care what is good for ME. Having more players to play against is always a good thing - particularly as games age and their playerbase drops off. I already own both consoles, but this decision alone basically means that if the game is available in both places, I'll buy it for Xbox.

      Microsoft may be no saint, but they've listened to their customers in the past. When the initial "internet connection is required" bit was announced and the internet wa

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @05:44AM (#55068687)

    Been there, professional game developer here, we had cross-play working between PS4 and XB1 almost 2 years ago, and it looked like Sony might go for it back then. Today, everyone knows it's not happening. This game developer is looking for publicity, is all. Sony have explained why to them, they're just pretending not to know, and they can't say anyway because of all the NDAs.

    The issue isn't getting Sony's network to talk to Microsoft's. The networks don't have to talk at all. Our servers can handle connections from our client on any platform. All we need is basic UDP. (There's no "PC network" that they have to talk to to get PS4/PC cross play working either, of course.)

    Sony allow PS4 cross play with PC but not with live chat. They can't have you talking to PSN members unless there's a facility to be reported and blocked. So PS4/PC cross play is missing a key feature already because of this. We dropped it for this reason.

    With XBL, Microsoft announced this when it was clear that XB1 had dramatically undersold PS4 globally. It was pretty obvious from day one it wouldn't fly with Sony. Why would they give Microsoft a helping hand? The entire thing is a political move from Microsoft, it never was a feature that would ever happen. Note that the biggest name on the complainants list - Minecraft - is owned by Microsoft.

    It's pretty simple. If you've got 4 PS4s for every XB1, Sony want the XB1 user to buy a PS4. They don't want to hand that XB1 user new features on a plate so that they don't have to buy a PS4. Call it lock-in, or call it common sense. They want to capitalize on their market domination, not throw it away. If MS were winning this console cycle, of course, the boot would be on the other foot. MS never suggested this feature between PS3 and X360, even though it was just as technically viable then as it is now. It's just never going to happen between two rabidly competing entities in a billion-dollar market.

    • " It was pretty obvious from day one it wouldn't fly with Sony. Why would they give Microsoft a helping hand?"

      Err, isn't this about giving GAMERS a helping hand, or have you forgotten about them , you know, the people who ultimately pay your wages?

      • " It was pretty obvious from day one it wouldn't fly with Sony. Why would they give Microsoft a helping hand?"

        Err, isn't this about giving GAMERS a helping hand, or have you forgotten about them , you know, the people who ultimately pay your wages?

        Developers, publishers and platform holders are very different beasts.

      • Err, isn't this about giving GAMERS a helping hand, or have you forgotten about them , you know, the people who ultimately pay your wages?

        Why should they give two shits about the gamers? The gamers are all happy to line up to pay $$$ for these systems and games, no matter how badly they're treated.

      • Oh, please. The developer above clearly would be happy for this to happen. He was explaining why it won't....and it's down to common sense business from Sony (or just as easily Microsoft, if they were winning this cycle). You're looking for some righteous indignation where none exists.
    • Sony allow PS4 cross play with PC but not with live chat. They can't have you talking to PSN members unless there's a facility to be reported and blocked. So PS4/PC cross play is missing a key feature already because of this. We dropped it for this reason.

      Could you elaborate what you mean by this? I have to look at FF14 as an example of PS4/PC crossplay. I am aware that there's a PSN messaging, chat, and voice service that PS4 FF14 users can use and communicate which PC players cannot gain access to, but the PS4 users can also communicate with PC users using chat windows. They may have to use a shitty software keyboard but they definitely can communicate anything they want as long as it can be expressed in text.

      • They may have to use a shitty software keyboard but they definitely can communicate anything they want as long as it can be expressed in text.

        The Sony machines have USB (and Bluetooth for the PS3/PS4) for keyboards. Any game or application that uses the standard PS3/PS4 text entry widget automatically supports external keyboards. Hell, even the PS2's network adapter setup disc supported USB keyboards.

        • Yes, the PS4 supports it. It's also not relevant to the question, whether they're using a shitty software keyboard or a hardware keyboard plugged in via USB the PS4 players can use the in game chat functions of FF14 to communicate with PC players. I'm seeking more information about what the AC meant when he wrote

          Sony allow PS4 cross play with PC but not with live chat. They can't have you talking to PSN members unless there's a facility to be reported and blocked. So PS4/PC cross play is missing a key feature already because of this. We dropped it for this reason.

          Did they drop cross play because they didn't want to create an in game method for PC and PS4 users to communicate? Were they wanting to use a voice service facilitated by the game that PS4 users cou

    • Sony allow PS4 cross play with PC but not with live chat. They can't have you talking to PSN members unless there's a facility to be reported and blocked. So PS4/PC cross play is missing a key feature already because of this. We dropped it for this reason.

      Why would you drop it just for that when there are workarounds and voice chat is one of the most underused non-essential features ever?

    • Another name for it is monopoly/near monopoly (they have ~75% of the console market) and/or interference with commerce, both of which can get you into trouble. IMHO Sony corporate are a bunch of greedy idiots who treat their customers no better than Microsoft. The Sony gaming division is essentially a US run company now and in general has made a lot of good choices for the PS4. It would be interesting to see how a class action/federal anti-trust investigation would play out in this scenario.

      Alternatively

  • by Luthair ( 847766 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @05:44AM (#55068689)
    Sony is the market leader in this generation of consoles, by blocking cross-platform play they keep the players available for online play on the XboxOne version low which further hurts the perception of the console.
    • Sony is the market leader in this generation of consoles

      Yes they are, but when you consider the PC as something people also use to play games then Microsoft happily makes up the gap.

    • by MeNeXT ( 200840 )

      So frustrating current users is a good business model?

      • As long as it frustrates users of the competition's products more, yes.

        Now if people decide that these sorts of shenanigans are enough to keep them from buying any of the products, that would no longer hold. Unless we start holding these companies accountable for customer hostile policies, why would we expect them to change?

    • Exactly this. Honestly, I'm sure all developers want as many players as possible for their games regardless of platform. But if you release a game on a specific platform that isn't a PC, you're going to have to abide by the platform-holder's rules. That's not the developer's fault. And Sony isn't going to hand their sizable player-base to Microsoft because that only benefits Microsoft. The player-base count is part of the platform proposition - why would Sony add value to Microsoft's product when they'd muc
  • by zifn4b ( 1040588 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @06:01AM (#55068737)
    Both Sony and XBox One are interested in selling Playstation Plus and Xbox Live subscriptions to access online game play elements and additional content. The cross-platform multiplayer design runs directly counter against that business model. It's all about money. Nothing new.
    • It's all about money. Nothing new.

      Speaking with Eurogamer in June, Sony's Jim Ryan suggested that, in the case of Minecraft, Sony was wary to expose that game's young players to "external influences we have no ability to manage or look after."

      Clearly, you missed the part where it's all about the children.

  • might be that Sony just doesn't want to partially give away its sizable advantage in console sales by letting Microsoft hook into that vast network of players

    The XBox X has them scared because it represents a new step toward merging console and PC gaming for average buyers. That means you get into Microsoft's orbit and suddenly you find that you're part of a much bigger ecosystem than Sony can put together now.

  • Does anyone at Sony know that Final Fantasy XIV allows PS4, Windows and Mac players at the same time? I'm pretty sure that covers their fears of "external influences we have no ability to manage or look after."

  • Easy solution: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <moiraNO@SPAMmodparlor.com> on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @07:03AM (#55068913)

    Don't buy proprietary lock-in platforms, such as PS, XBox, etc.

    We need a console that doesn't suck and lasts for a little longer than just a few years. I'm kinda hoping the new Atari reboot will be that. Ouya was a faliure, sadly. The emphasised to much on the "free" aspect AFAICT.

    • and lasts for a little longer than just a few years.

      US release dates for PlayStation hardware
      PlayStation: September 9th, 1995 ENOS LIVES
      PS2: October 26th, 2000
      PS3: November 17th, 2006
      PS4: November 15th, 2013

      So 5, 6 and 7 years respectively aren't long enough considering that many PC gamers thought the extended PS2/PS3 lifespan "held gaming back"

      • by Merk42 ( 1906718 )
        and those dates are only when the successer was released. PS1 games were still being made after the PS2 release, PS2 after the PS3 release, etc.
    • Ouya was a faliure, sadly. The emphasised to much on the "free" aspect AFAICT.

      I don't know if you ever owned one, but the hardware was lousy, especially early on but fundamentally as well. And not only was the software lackluster, but they fiddled around replacing the dashboard multiple times when there were fundamental problems with the system. They also refused to unify their controller API with Google, so developers had to implement controllers twice. Then Google brought out Play Games and the rest was history for Ouya. It's questionable whether there was anything they could have

  • by Chris Katko ( 2923353 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @07:59AM (#55069073)

    If this factored into Player Unknown's Battlegrounds decision to go Xbox Exclusive instead of originally stating planned support both PS4 and Xbox support.

    They said cross-platform play was important to them. (Of course being the #1 or #2 most popular selling game on Steam means they could probably get away with segmented players. However, maybe it's easier from a server standpoint with "one" codebase as far as server's clients go?)

    The thing is, I thought PS4 had a larger market. Or perhaps Xbox has more "FPS" players?

    Granted, a key factor is that Microsoft is "publishing" PUBG on Xbox which means they probably paid a CRAP TON of money to buy exclusive licensing for a year or more. But if you're making hundreds of millions, you'd be damn sure to consider all the factors. And my point is, I wonder if this story is one of those factors.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Xbox One has a larger percentage of FPS players on it, however it has very little penetration overseas.

      For PUBG this isn't an issue since the type of gameplay within the game is frowned upon in most asian countries and will most likely be banned in China. In South Korea most people who play FPS's have migrated to PC's anyhow, and Japan was never going to be a place with a lot of buyers for this type of game. So for them it's easy to forget about PS4.

    • No, PUBG went to Xbox because they have an unfinished games program, Sony doesn't let unfinished games in its store

      • Thank you for your insight. That's pretty neat.

        Although, do you have a source for that? Are you sure they weren't planning on releasing on PS4 and calling the game "finished" by that date? The game is already "beta" and barring a couple more maps and vaulting, it's basically finished--at least finished enough that you could call it finished.

        • Well there is historical evidence to support it with other recent games https://aotf.com/news/sony-won... [aotf.com]

          They do allow betas though on PS+ for which users may play a near final multiplayer portion of a game

          I'm not sure how the lines are drawn, I mean PUBG is multiplayer only, but maybe is not feature complete so that could be the issue here

  • In the XBox360/PS3 generation, when the 360 was in the lead, the roles of the two companies were exactly reversed. Sony was saying they'd love to enable cross platform play and MS was making disingenuous excuses for why they couldn't: "for the good of the players".

    The only way this is ever going to happen is if the two companies see a common interest in working together. If the console market as a whole took a nose dive in favor of PC online gaming, for example, they might see a benefit in keeping multipl

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I remember a story a while back where cross platform was allowed between PC and PS4 users in a FPS game but it was short lived due to the fact that Keyboard+Mouse users were destroying players using console controllers.

    I wonder if they may be worried that the console wars could translate into some sort of real online war in which their users might again be on the loosing side?

  • They don't need a reason to fuck things up, hell, they don't even need to try... it just comes naturally to them.
  • by HalAtWork ( 926717 ) on Wednesday August 23, 2017 @11:48AM (#55070457)

    Back on PS2 Sony worked with Square to allow
    cross platform play with PC for FFXI, 360 had the game too but MS refused to link up and stayed off by themselves.

    Because of that FFXIV did not come to Xbox platforms [kotaku.com]

    PS3 Sony partnered with Valve to bring cross platform multiplayer, chat, achievements, etc [kotaku.com] allowing Steam to work across PS3 and PC. Again MS refused.

    Gearbox wanted Borderlands 2 to work across all platforms, and here is what MS had to say via Kotaku:

    "Here's a Microsoft spokesperson saying "no," while promoting how awesome the Xbox 360's online service is: "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.""

    Now this generation, Sony helped launch Rocket Cars as a free download on PSN and it had cross platform play with PC [gamespot.com]. Same with Street Fighter V [theverge.com]

    So is it really any wonder now that MS is playing runner up that Sony got fed up of this fair weather crap and gave MS the very same excuse that MS gave back in the day?

    So why again is Sony getting shit for this?

  • I suppose if these sociopaths cockblock interconsole online gaming, the odds of PSN/XB Live/PC gaming is still years away?

    It would be so glorious for games like Neverwinter and Star Trek Online to be played online cross platform. Granted, we would see a lot more whining and "nerf herding" from the console crowd, but that would be part of the fun, eh? :D

    My Space Elf and the crew of the RRW Cheshire Goose would enjoy pwning their space butts (at least once I get back into Star Trek when I don't have a ton of

  • My kid has a Xbone because that's the predominant platform at his school. All his friends have that, so to play online with them he got the same thing. By axing cross-platform compatibility, they've cut the odds of us switching to PlayStation to approximately 0.00%.

    Which is a pity because Sony has a lot of great properties that I'm sure we'd enjoy. But if switching - and no, we're not buying into both platforms - means that my son can't play with his friends then it's just not happening.

  • Sony's Jim Ryan suggested that, in the case of Minecraft, Sony was wary to expose that game's young players to "external influences we have no ability to manage or look after."

    Sooooooo... what you're saying is that the PS4 doesn't do web browsing? I could have sworn it did...

  • How about you have developers write games that connect to their OWN servers and network infrastructure: instead of depending on some game server system provided by Sony, then Sony's servers don't have a choice to refuse cross-console interoperability; the developers' servers can act as brokers behind the scenes using a protocol that is standardized regardless of endpoint.

    At that point Sony can (probably) do nothing to stop without running afoul of anti-trust regulations.

  • - Playstation has a huge lead this generation, which means most people are on their platform.
    - That lead means Playstation will have the most people online, which will likely include a decent number of people who abandoned Xbox.
    - If you're an Xbox hold-out and you want the largest multiplayer pool of gamer and/or your friends have jumped to Playstation, you need to consider Playstation.
    But then:
    - Sony allows cross-platform multiplayer between Playstation and Xbox games.
    - You can play your Xbox games a

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