Sony’s Jim Ryan Explains Why They’re Blocking Cross-Network Play

Won't someone think of the children?

Speaking to Eurogamer, Jim Ryan defended Sony’s policies over cross-network play that allow for PlayStation and PC games to interact – as in Final Fantasy XIV and Street Fighter V – but seem to actively obstruct connectivity with other console networks.

A hot topic in the middle of last year when Microsoft changed their own stance on this, it’s been brought back into the foreground by two announcements at E3. Firstly, Minecraft is going as cross-platform and cross-network as possible, uniting Xbox One, Switch, PC, VR and mobile so that they can all play together. Secondly, Rocket League is coming to Switch, and will tap into the cross-network play between Xbox One and PC, with PS4 and PC cross-network play cordoned off to one side.

Eurogamer quizzed Sony’s Jim Ryan about why they seem to be taking an actively obstructionist approach, and it boils down to it being business.

It’s certainly not a profound philosophical stance we have against this. We’ve done it in the past. We’re always open to conversations with any developer or publisher who wants to talk about it. Unfortunately 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. And I can see your eyes rolling.

That’s fair enough. Business is business, and when Microsoft were market leaders, they had no inclination to open up their gates to outsiders. However, when pressed on the fact that gamers would like to see this, Ryan’s excuse was much weaker.

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.

 

As Eurogamer were quick to point out, this is a stance that doesn’t really tally when you consider that even Nintendo are actively engaging in this more open networking policy. As far as I’m aware, you can go and build monumental swastikas and penises in Minecraft on any platform, if you so desire, just as MMOs will often have an open chat channel and this can be a subject of abuse. PC gamers can quite happily text chat in Rocket League, for example.

The responsibility in that instance falls to the game developer to put in place satisfactory systems and policies to police objectionable material. Funnily, those systems and policies are already in place to deal with such material within PlayStation Network anyway.

On the plus side, the pressure is building, and when asked if these decisions were final, Ryan replied:

I don’t think anything is ever a done deal. Anybody who is dogmatic in that manner is typically a fool. That said, to my knowledge, there is no live conversation ongoing at the moment.

My personal call to Psyonix, Microsoft/Mojang, Bandai Namco, Ubisoft, and every developer, both big and small, please keep putting requests in and pushing Sony to open the gates on this matter.

Source: Eurogamer

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I'm probably wearing toe shoes, and there's nothing you can do to stop me!

28 Comments

  1. Thoroughly fascinating. What a future there could be in this.

  2. I understand completely. Cross game chat on the 360 was like getting a roast from a group of people you’ve never met.

    You can’t blame Sony for trying to keep it classy on Playstation by keeping the riff raff out.

    Build a wall Sony and make the others pay for it #riffraffban

    • Exact same experience for me,it was one of the reasons i gravitated towards PlayStation.Don’t get me wrong i’m sure it’s been like that on Sony’s platform at one time or another for some people.It’s for me personally a laid back platform with great people.

    • Well hardly anyone had a headset on ps3. If they had it would’ve been just as bad. I got just as many rage messages when I beat people on ps3 as I did on 360.

  3. When Sony proposed this on PS3 to MS was not interested one bit cause they was the leading platform then.

    Now MS are interested in it cause well yeh they need it. So Sony are not interested. It’s just fair do in my eyes.

    Now what about Nintendo, I don’t think their user base would be terrible for Sony not to do it with them

  4. I don’t get some people’s arguments of “well when MS were winning and Sony wanted it they said no, so it’s ok for Sony to do this now”. I bet those same people whinged about MS being stuck up and not opening their platform up a few years ago, yet jump to defend Sony the moment the tables have turned.
    If you own a PS4, how can it be a bad thing of having the option to play with your friends who have an Xbox?

    • Irrespective of platform, I’d love to see seamless cross network play. What a way to break down barriers and allow people to play with each other. That culture can only do good for gamers, but it can be bad for the platform holders.

      • Exactly, but it’s frustrating that a lot of gamers don’t see it as being beneficial to them, and so the platform holders can get away with it.

    • Nope did not whinge once about MS being stuck up. Just pointing out that they want to now do it on their terms & Sony don’t need to bother anymore, when they tried all they got was was a middle finger

      • “Sony don’t need to bother anymore” But why? Why not make it a better experience for PS4 owners who have friends on Xbox?

        What happend the “This is for the players”?

      • Then they should of got a PS4 lol

        Jokes aside the games are limited anyway, if this was bigger than rocket league then you know what, i would be all in arms to why Sony are not doing cross play

      • But it is bigger than Rocket League, any online game could have cross-platform play. Sure, you can’t have console vs PC for FPS’s as that would be unfair on console players, but there’s nothing to stop you having console vs console in any game I can think of.

  5. This absolutely sucks the big one. The very fact it is Sony and Sony alone who’ve said this speaks volumes. I would love to play against others on other platforms. May be they’re worried over laggy ps4 players appearing to be the poorer cousin.

  6. “As far as I’m aware, you can go and build monumental swastikas and penises in Minecraft on any platform”

    Done and done. :D

    • Hah, I wonder if you’ve ever done it at work, hidden a little chode away in a bit of branding? There was an incident where I work now known as Penisgate, and I genuinely can’t say any more but it was hilarious!
      Oh and fascinating stuff about cross play, I do think rivalry is a good enough business excuse though.

      • We used to put Star Wars scrollers in software but the programmers wouldn’t let me read them (or show me where they were hidden). God knows what text they put in there but I’d be disappointed if it didn’t question the morals of the clients’ various mothers. :D

  7. I can understand this completely. I’m not saying I’m entirely happy about it but, from a business standpoint, it makes sense.
    A major influence when buying a games console is “what are my friends playing?” If those walls are knocked down and it makes no odds what console your friends own, it could translate to lost sales, especially with a new Xbox around the corner.
    Exactly why MS were against it in the PS3/360 era, and exactly why they’re all for it now.

    • Exactly. They should just stop giving bs excuses and admit that is the reason.

      • “Unfortunately it’s a commercial discussion between ourselves and other stakeholders”

        I think, reading between the lines, that quote tells you everything – it’s down to business and/or money. Do you really expect a professional or a company to state “dyou know what, we’ve got the biggest install base and we want to hold on to that, if not expand it. We’re not going to throw our biggest rival, the biggest threat to our jobs and our business, a bone are we?!”

        Granted, the additional follow up answer about protecting children was nonsense, but he definitely answered the question originally…

  8. I don’t blame Sony at all – After all, its business.

    10 friends – 9 have BF on PS4, 1 has an Xbox and wants BF. ‘1’ goes out and buys a PS4 & BF to play with friends & rejects his Xbox – Sony make an extra console sale.

    Lets say Sony allow cross network play – 9 have BF on PS4, 1 has an Xbox and wants BF. ‘1’ buys BF for his Xbox and plays with friends – Sony lose a potential console sale.

    Anyway, at the end of the day, what the hell was ‘1’ doing buying an Xbox anyway??? ;)

    * Waits for Starman to make an appearance * ;)

    • GFY

    • I bought an xbox as i thought it was a media player, thats what it was being touted as at E3 a few years back. Seems i was right, 3 years on and still no games for it. ;)

      Oh and im still waiting for improved graphics with the power of the cloud. Surely i do not need an Xbox One X, after all MS said the power of the cloud was unlimited. I want 4k on my original VCR style xbox using the “power of the cloud” please :)

      • There are no games? Don’t talk such crap mate. There are plenty.

      • @ starman. Are there? What games can i play on my xbox that i cant get on PC? If there were plenty of games why has mine been used only for movies in the last nine months?

      • Who cares if you can play them on PC. You can play nearly every multiplatform game on PC, half a dozen PS4 console exclusives, and a dozen Xbox console exclusives. Can I take it you play on PC most of the time and only bother with your PS4 for exclusives? If not, then really it isn’t about what you can play on PC.

        And let’s not pull the crap about why you’re not gaming on Xbox. My PS4 gets used 2 hours per week, on a Monday, compared to the 30 or so hours on Xbox One. Does it mean there’s shit all on PS4? No.

        Oh and dare we debate about this AGAIN, but the cloud is computational power, not exactly for graphical horsepower. Oh and yeah, Crackdown 3 multiplayer is still using the cloud for insane levels of destruction.

        Love the sarcasm about the cloud and the original plan behind it, but frankly I could go on all day taking the piss out of how the Vita plays AAA games in the palm of your hands. Doesn’t mean I’m actually going do it.

    • yeah that makes sence mate

  9. In the spirit of E3 week i’m going to join in all the jolly banter and draw the jaw-dropping conclusion that Microsoft simply don’t care about the kids!! :O

    ;-)

    In actuality, i rarely play online so this doesn’t affect me one way or the other but i can appreciate why the feature is desirable. The reason given does sound weak when you consider the extreme adult activity that kids could easily have been exposed to on Live from Playstation, although i think they’ve got a better handle on monitoring and blocking that behaviour nowadays. Perhaps it’s more to do with litigation in some regard?

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