PS4 and Xbox One cross-play update from Microsoft

Microsoft has revealed that it is in frequent talks with Sony regarding PlayStation 4 and Xbox One cross-play functionality. 

Speaking with GameSpot at the Brazil Game Show this week, Xbox chief Phil Spencer conceded that a discussions may never amount to anything, suggesting Sony’s views are on the subject are fundamentally different. 

PS4 and Xbox One cross-play: Will it ever happen?

"We talk to Sony all the time. With Minecraft on PlayStation, we have to be one of the biggest games on their platform in terms of sales and gameplay," said Spencer. "Same with Nintendo. The relationship with Nintendo on this front has been strong. They’ve been great supporters and we continue to collaborate with them. But I think Sony’s view is different. They should talk about what their view is…"

"I have a real struggle making comments about their motivation or timelines. I know there is a certain view that says if my friends have this console, they can’t play with people who buy another console. That’s a reason they go buy my console," he continued.

"That reason is not going to go away. So we’re putting Minecraft out there as one of the biggest games on any platform and allowing people to play together regardless of what device they bought. I don’t think everybody is taking that same approach to the ecosystem. So I’m never going to call anything a lost cause but I think some of the fundamental reasons and certain scenarios, they’re not really going away. So I don’t know what would change."

Spencer made his views very clear on the appeal of cross-play, believing it helps developers, particularly indie studios, and that it should be embraced.

"I think people look at [cross-play] and say is it better for gamers. If it’s better for gamers, I have a hard time thinking why we shouldn’t go do this, especially when you’re trying to make the gaming business a bigger business; grow it, get more games, create more opportunity," he said.

"Especially in the indie space, actually. If you’re creating an online indie game and you’re going to create five [shards] of your game–the Steam version, Xbox Live on PC, Xbox version, the PlayStation version, the Switch version creates hard matchmaking scenarios. We should help developers, not make their lives more difficult."

Sony touched on cross-play earlier in the year, stating that it is blocking the service out of a duty to protect its customers, particularly younger gamers. 

As such, there’s no technical barrier preventing the feature; in fact, the developer behind Fortnite had cross-play between PS4 and Xbox One users up and running before quickly removing it.