Cross-platform play is a feature of a video game that allows gamers using different consoles or PC to play with each other simultaneously. What it means is, if you play Rocket League on the Xbox One, you can play against those on the Nintendo Switch and PC. For most part, Sony has excluded itself from cross-platform play with Xbox One, refusing Microsoft's attempts to bridge the gap for titles like Minecraft, Fortnite, and Rocket League. While the likes of Fortnite claim cross-platform play and cross-progression (allowing you to carry over your items and upgrades from one device to another) as major selling points, this appears to be far from the case for most gamers.
According to a survey by GameTrack (via GamesIndustry.biz), it seems that cross-platform play adds little value to gamers' purchasing decisions with 58 percent being "Indifferent" to it, eight percent of all respondents felt "Fairly Negative" or "Very Negative" about the push for cross-platform play from the games industry while 34 percent saw it as a positive trend. The survey claims that cross-platform play is not a major factor when gamers decide about buying a console. Furthermore, when presented with cross-platform play as a feature that may sway them to buy one console over another, 54 percent disagreed with 38 percent disagreeing strongly. Only 13 percent agreed with the statement. In the same vein, 56 percent disagreed that cross-platform play would convince them to buy into a console's service like PSN or Xbox Live versus 13 percent who agreed it would.
The same applies to games too. 48 percent disagreed that cross-platform play would be a reason to buy a game they may have ignored compared to 17 percent who agreed and 49 percent of respondents disagreed that cross-platform functionality would make them more likely to play online than they currently do, compared to 17 percent who agreed.
That said, here’s a little explanation from Sony Worldwide Studios Head Shuhei Yoshida on why PS4 and Xbox One cross-play is not possible.
"Because PC is an open platform it's much more straightforward," Yoshida had said in March 2016, when the same subject came up with reference to Rocket League. "Connecting two different closed networks is much more complicated so we have to work with developers and publishers to understand what it is they are trying to accomplish... We also have to look at the technical aspect - and the technical aspect could be the easiest. We also have to look at policy issues and business issues as well."
In a conversation with Gadgets 360, Mark Little, Executive Producer at WWE 2K18 developer Visual Concepts said enabling cross-play is a lot more complicated than just flipping a switch.
"I can only imagine the complexities of those conversations between the two [Sony and Microsoft] and some of those of complexities come in the areas of stuff like purchasable content and if ‘we allow cross-platform play, what does it mean to purchase on one platform and play it on the other’,” Little had said. So there's a lot of really complicated issues. It's not our problem. It's on the first-party side. There's a lot of interesting things they need to figure out as first-parties that has nothing to do with us. Once they figure it out we'll figure out what our plan is."
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