The revelation of the PlayStation 5 has the gaming world bristling with anticipation as to what the next generation of home consoles is going to be like.
But one major thing that a lot of gamers want to see done differently in the next generation actually has nothing to with graphics, streaming, online multiplayer, or even exclusive games.
Many gamers would like to have the ability to play across consoles with gamers that own Xboxes, Switches, and even PCs.
So far, Sony has been quite reluctant to allow cross play functionalities on its PlayStation 4 console, and for a good reason.
As the undisputed leader of this console generation, Sony doesn’t exactly have to make concessions.
Buoyed by a stock of exclusive titles and a sales momentum that shows no signs of ending any time soon, Sony can afford to eschew cross play…at least for now.
What about in the future?
Aside from the fact that a lack of cross-play functionality is pretty anti-consumer, it’s also not the best way to start the next console race.
That’s why the arrival of the PlayStation 5 presents a unique opportunity for Sony to finally launch cross play while also garnering some positive feedback from the press and fans alike.
Imagine: Sony debuts the PS5 with cross-play functionality on day one, immediately killing any similar claim from Microsoft having an impact on people.
Beyond that, Sony could become heavily involved in crafting the standards and protocols surrounding cross play on consoles.
As it stands now, Sony is on the outside looking in, but it’s more like they’re looking over the other two makers given the PS4’s robust sales.
The concern, of course, on Sony’s part is that cross-play features will make their console less appealing. After all, a company that has built its success on exclusives will probably be reluctant to shed exclusivity in any area.
That said, cross play, by definition, implies that the game people are playing is already available on another console.
These games aren’t the bread and butter exclusives that has made Sony’s PS4 the success it is – these games are already across multiple consoles.
This makes a lack of cross-play not only glaring but also very, very anti-consumer in many ways.
Whether or not it will happen remains to be seen but, if anything, Sony is probably going to stick to its winning formula while also expanding its current set of offerings. Sony has online gaming, console gaming, and VR, among other things, so it isn’t like the company is lacking in entertainment options.
The addition of cross play would be if anything, a huge boost for the gaming community in general – particularly eSports. The expanded competition field could make the PS4 the de facto console for practicing and playing certain eSports games.
Whatever approach the company takes, we’re pretty sure that the strategy will be comprehensive and inclusive of the various efforts Sony currently has underway. The next console generation is already shaping up to be an inflection point for the industry, and we cannot imagine that Sony will want to do anything but lead the charge towards the future.