It seems like every time a new game comes out that supports both current-gen and last-gen consoles, the question is raised of why players on both old and new platforms can’t play with one another. Rather than avoid it, Bungie have taken the time to offer a reason.
Specifically, it was Roger Wolfson, an engineer at Bungie, who answered the question during a chat with Digital Trends.
I’ll speak for the hypothetical player. I have a disadvantage sniping across the map because [my opponent with a next-gen console] is only two pixels on my screen and I’m four pixels on his. You see that in the world of PC gaming, where people are always racing to the best video card to give themselves the advantage.
Regardless of where the reality is, there’s definitely a perception among gamers that better hardware means you have an advantage. We don’t want to have to enter that fray, so to create the best, most level playing field, both actually and perceptually, we separated it by platform.
I always assumed it was just very difficult getting two different consoles to play nice with one another during online multiplayer, but this seems like a reasonable response.
Wolfson also noted that if you play Destiny on a last-gen platform, your character will carry over to all future Destiny titles, the same way characters built on PS4 and Xbox One will.