Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that cross-network multiplayer is on the way for Minecraft. Players on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PC will soon be able to link and build blocks together in the popular open-world adventure game. Interestingly, PS4 isn’t included in the list.
Developer Psyonix also announced today at the Nintendo E3 event that Rocket League, another popular multiplayer game, is set to arrive on Switch. The announcement trailer confirmed that cross-network play is possible, with the developer further detailing in a blog post at the game’s official website that the gaming platforms involved will be Xbox One and PC. Again, PS4 isn’t mentioned.
Sony’s decision to play kill-joy has been under heavy criticism within the last 24 hours. Jim Ryan, PlayStation Global Head of Marketing and Sales, chatted with Eurogamer today and explained why Sony isn’t joining the cross-network play party. Based on his responses, it appears Sony has no immediate plans to join the party at the moment.
When asked why the PS4 isn’t part of the Rocket League and Minecraft cross-network multiplayer party, Ryan said that it was a “commercial discussion” between the company and stakeholders. However, he held back on giving out more information about that specific detail.
Ryan also mentioned that they are mindful of the demographic playing Minecraft. The game has a very diverse user base, with users ranging from 13-year-olds who think Minecraft is the best thing that happened since peanut butter to 20-something young adults who spit out a profanity every 15 seconds or so.
Sony is concerned about exposing children to “external influences” they can’t curate, according to Ryan. Which is kind of a lame excuse, considering Nintendo has been one of the most family-friendly companies in the gaming industry. Nintendo certainly had no problems hooking up the Switch with the Xbox One and PC for cross-network play.
But Ryan did say that the door is definitely not closed. He said that they are always willing to listen to publishers and developers who want to discuss cross-network multiplayer with them. But at the moment, according to his knowledge, there are no discussions happening about it. Translation: Cross-network play between PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC in Minecraft and Rocket League isn’t happening anytime soon. Don’t hold your breath.
Hopefully, Sony will have a change of heart in the near future. Full cross-network play between all major gaming systems is long overdue. The news that Sony is leaving itself out of the Minecraft and Rocket League party somewhat puts a small cloud over the company’s otherwise good E3 outing, which included gameplay reveals for the new God of War and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy and the surprising announcement of the Shadow of the Colossus remake.