One of the biggest annoyances in all of gaming is the inability to play the same game with a friend on another platform. Take, for example, the smash hit Minecraft, a game that is available almost everywhere - Windows, macOS, Linux, Windows Mobile, iOS, Android, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and Nintendo Switch, just to name a few. Of course, with a game like this, where everything is user generated, the ability to share that content is essential. For the most part, this is possible.
The current scenario allows for players on Windows, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and mobile can all share content with one another. There is an important brand missing, however - PlayStation. Microsoft is clearly interested in cross-pollinating content, as they are working with Nintendo to share data. So, why is the PlayStation brand missing from the overwhelming list of compatible platforms? Because Sony has notoriously been against cross-platform data.
The good news is that Microsoft and Sony are finally getting somewhere in discussions. At Gamescom, Xbox Head of Marketing Aaron Greenberg spoke with GameReactor about the problem and Greenberg said,
Absolutely, yeah. We're talking to Sony (about crossplay), 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. So we're talking to them and we're hopeful that they'll be supportive of it.
If Sony were to get onboard with the cross-play capabilities, it would be good for everyone involved. You might see more user-generated games like Minecraft enter the market, that allow users to create anywhere and share with one another. It would also be good for games like Rocket League, whose developer Psyonix, said they were ready to implement cross-play capabilities between Xbox and PlayStation, but Sony quickly squashed that option. Psyonix even said that implementing the capability would take less than one business day to complete, buy Sony was completely against it.
If Microsoft were to convince Sony to accept the capability to play cross-platform, it would be a massive shift for the gaming industry. To play AAA titles, like Call of Duty, with others regardless of platform would likely make sales better for everyone. It would certainly make online play more popular, which is a revenue driver for both companies. Most importantly, it will give players more options.