When it comes to cross-platform play, Microsoft is "trying to lead by example," according to Aaron Greenberg, head of marketing for the company's Xbox division. And to Microsoft's credit, it has been able to bring cross-platform play to the Xbox One and Windows PCs. But what about Sony and the PlayStation 4? As stubborn as Sony appears to be on the matter, Greenberg confirmed in an interview with Gamereactor that Microsoft is in talks with Sony on the subject.
"We're talking to Sony [about cross-play], we do partner with them on Minecraft and of course we would like to enable them to be part of that; one community, to unite gamers," Greenberg said."So we're talking to them and we're hopeful that they'll be supportive of it."
Skip to the 6m20sec mark for Greenberg's comments on cross-platform play with Sony
So are we, along with scores of gamers on both the Xbox One and PS4 who would love to go head-to-head on their respective platforms. Whether it comes to fruition anytime soon remains to be seen. We hate to cast a wet blanket on Greenberg's comments, but this is not the first time Microsoft has publicly indicated a desire to get the cross-platform ball rolling with Sony. Back when Microsoft announced cross-play support for Minecraft between the Xbox One and Nintendo Switch at E3, the GM of Microsoft Game Studios (Dave McCarthy) indicated that Microsoft was in talks with Sony.
"Nintendo's been a great partner; we respect them on a lot of levels, and it's great to support the Switch early on," McCarthy said at the time. "Quite frankly, we'd love to have Sony there. We discussed it. They're not quite there yet [laughs] on support for that. But my hope is that they join the party as well because I think it's an awesome thing to do for gamers."
Sony has seemed open to the idea on occasion, though it has also offered up some weird excuses, such as the old 'Think of the children!' refrain. That excuse was thrown out there by PlayStation marketing head Jim Ryan earlier this summer, who at the time admitted there was no "profound philosophical stance" that is blocking Sony from joining the fray.
"We've got to be mindful of our responsibility to our install base. Minecraft—the demographic playing that, you know as well as I do, it's all ages but it's also very young. We have a contract with the people who go online with us, that we look after them and they are within the PlayStation curated universe. Exposing what in many cases are children to external influences we have no ability to manage or look after, it's something we have to think about very carefully," Ryan said.
"It's a commercial discussion between ourselves and other stakeholders, and I'm not going to get into the detail of that on this particular instance," Ryan added. "And I can see your eyes rolling."
Like everything else, the issue seems to come down to money. Unfortunately, Sony's interests in the matter may not align with that of gamers, so who knows if cross-platform play between the Xbox One and PS4 will ever happen. All we can do is cross our fingers.