180712_START01

‘Rocket League’ is one of several games Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC players can enjoy with each other. PlayStation 4 users, meanwhile, are left out, writes Gazette gaming columnist Jake Magee.

For a while now, gamers have been clamoring for a feature never before fully implemented in the gaming industry: Cross-console multiplayer.

Picture being able to play “Destiny 2” on your Xbox One with a buddy who is playing on his PlayStation 4. Imagine a world where it doesn’t matter what video game system your friends are playing the latest multi-platform game on because the multiplayer is shared by all, regardless of the console you’re playing on.

Such a world is possible, but both sides—Microsoft and Sony—have to be willing to implement it. Unfortunately, Sony has stubbornly refused to explore this possibility, and it’s time to call them out.

Even Bethesda Director Todd Howard has had enough.

Howard recently announced “Fallout 76,” a new role-playing game that, for the first time, will allow multiplayer in the “Fallout” universe. Players will be able to build and fight each other in an open, post-apocalyptic world.

When asked if “Fallout 76” would allow for multiplayer across different consoles, Howard had this to say: “We would love to do that, but right now, that's not possible. Sony isn't being as helpful as we want them to be."

It’s a truth gamers and the industry at large have known for a while, but it speaks volumes for someone as prominent as Todd Howard to call Sony out.

“Fallout 76” isn’t the first instance of Sony receiving flak for its crossplay stubbornness.

“Minecraft” and “Rocket League” both have crossplay available between the Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC. PlayStation 4 users are inexplicably left out. Gamers weren’t happy when Sony blocked the feature in the wildly popular “Fortnite,” either.

As to why Sony is blocking the feature, gamers are left to speculate. To me, it seems obvious Sony sees no commercial gain in enabling crossplay. Considering the PlayStation 4 has vastly outsold the Xbox One, why would Sony want to allow non-PlayStation owners the advantage of expanding their player base by playing with PlayStation owners?

That said, I don’t see any real disadvantage, either. If you don’t have a PlayStation 4 at this point, it’s likely you’re never going to buy one no matter how many of your friends have one. Would it really hurt Sony’s bottom line that bad to merge and unite gamers rather than keeping them segregated by console choice, which sometimes isn’t even a choice at all?

Our only hope is that more prominent developers speak up. If Sony won’t listen to its fans, maybe it will listen to those who make games and have a clear desire to unite players.

If we’re lucky, we might see crossplay as a staple feature when the PlayStation 5 and next Xbox launch in a few years.

A man can dream …

Video game columnist Jake Magee has been with GazetteXtra since 2014. His opinion is not necessarily that of Gazette management. Let him know what you think by emailing jakemmagee@gmail.com or following @jakemmagee on Twitter.