Ever since the tantalising decision by Nintendo and Microsoft to throw each other a bone and make a number of games playable across both platforms, it was only a matter of time before others did the same.
And though it may have taken a little while longer than expected, Sony have finally announced its PlayStation 4 will have cross-play functionality available to all players, following a period of beta testing.
After a light-hearted video in Minecraft celebrating cross-platform play between Nintendo and Microsoft, Sony finally took the hint and announced last year that it would be enabling cross-play support for games on PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC and mobile devices.
Now, a little over a year since the initial announcement, beta testing is complete and – as long as the game’s developer enables it – cross-play will be available on PS4 going ahead.
Fortnite was the first big name to take a swing at cross-play, quickly followed by Rocket League and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, for example.
Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan told Wired in a recent interview the PS4’s cross-play functions have ‘officially moved out of the beta stage’, meaning the console will be able to support the function on any game, as long as developers have enabled it.
Speaking to Wired, Ryan said: ‘The track record of the incumbent platform winning the next time around is not a great one, so the major thrust of my executive energy is to avoid complacency,’ suggesting they knew PlayStation was falling behind when it came to the possibilities of cross-play.
Ryan also talked about PS Now, PlayStation’s cloud gaming service available via subscription. The CEO admitted there had been ‘many false steps taken, many lessons learned’ regarding the launch of the service. Now, however, the price has dropped, more games are available and the subscriber count is on the rise.
Still, according to David Cole, CEO of research firm DFC Intelligence, cloud-based gaming is ‘nowhere near’ a threat to conventional console gaming, with initiatives like PS Now functioning as an add-on, not a replacement.
Sony has their whole ecosystems. You buy hardware, and maybe you have streaming on top of it that lets you play when you’re not in front of your console, or you have your laptop. A stand-alone streaming service that doesn’t have a hardware component is going to have a tough sell.
PS4 supporting cross-play functionality, though, is certainly a step in the right direction for all those involved.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.