Microsoft’s Phil Spencer has hit back at Sony’s reasons for blocking cross-play functionality between PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, labelling the decision as ‘unhealthy’ for the industry as a whole.
Earlier this week, Jim Ryan, Sony’s Global Head of Sales & Marketing, said that the primary reason that Sony was not embracing cross-play is due to its concerns of safety among its users. Chiefly, Ryan said that allowing PSN to connect to outside networks such as Xbox LIVE, it would potentially put its users—particularly children, in the case of Minecraft—at risk from outside influences.
However, speaking to GiantBomb at E3 this week, Xbox boss Spencer was obviously none too pleased that Ryan (though not mentioned by name) would imply that Microsoft was not ensuring the safety of its users during cross-play.
"I would love for players on all platforms to stay connected," Spencer said. "The fact that somebody would make an assertion that somehow we’re not keeping Minecraft players safe … I found, not only from a Microsoft perspective but an industry perspective, I don’t know why that has to become the dialogue. That doesn’t seem healthy for anyone. We can always do better with anything we do. I find the whole discussion around safety with our game and that somehow we wouldn’t take that as a top priority … and frankly, through our parental controls on Xbox Live and everything else that we’ve done, shown that that’s incredible important to us as a platform."
Despite this, the executive said that “the door is open” in regards to working with Sony on cross-play in the future, and that safety is “incredibly important” for the platform holder. "We would never put Minecraft in a place where we felt like we weren’t keeping our players safe,” said Spencer.
Likewise, Ryan said in the same interview regarding cross-play with Eurogamer that Sony has not ruled out the feature indefinitely, although right now it’s not looking too likely. As it stands, PC, Xbox One and Switch users will be able to engage in online cross-play for titles such as Minecraft and Rocket League.