With E3 behind us, we’ve seen an overabundance of headlines. There have been plenty of topics, ranging from great reveals to downright outrageous news. Yes, I’m talking about Sony’s bold move to enforce their anti cross-play policy. In the past, Sony has always won our hearts over with engaging first party games, amazing services, and hardware. It would be easy to say that Sony has dominated the gaming industry for the past four years, becoming a force unrivaled in sales and content.
But is this great Sony machine setting itself up for failure? Before I answer that question, let’s take a brief look at the past generation of consoles, the PS3 and Xbox 360. Back in 2007 when the PS3 launched it was an expensive, content lacking competitor to the already established and widely popular Xbox 360. Of course, Sony had its fans but there was no doubt: Microsoft was the king. Not only in console sales, but in overall content and services. How would Sony ever catch up? It’s simple: they focused on the gamers. They evaluated all of Microsoft’s weaknesses and answered them on the PS3. Need an adapter for Wi-Fi on Xbox? PS3 has Wi-Fi built in. HDDVD sold separately? Blu-Ray is built in. At its roots, Sony was about its customers.
Fast forward to the PS4 and Xbox One launch, and the story is much different. Microsoft was stuck in its ways as they forced you to buy the Xbox One bundled with the already failing Kinect and DRM policies that left everyone furious. Sony once again capitalized on Microsoft’s mistakes, and this time it would be the Xbox One to fall behind. Why does any of this matter? Why should gamers care? With Sony going unchallenged in this generation of consoles, it left Sony in a position to do whatever they want. When games like Minecraft and Rocket League were opened up to cross-play, it was Sony that said no. But over time this topic fizzled out and most people forgot about it. However, when the hugely popular Fortnite came out on the Nintendo Switch, Sony once again said no.
Now that Sony is at the top, they see no reason to open up their online services to Microsoft and/or Nintendo. One could argue, why would they? From a business standpoint it wouldn’t make much sense, right? Sony’s success has been forged on what they’ve done in the past for gamers. They didn’t limit their console or force their users into anything they didn’t want. And now it seems like their overwhelming success has gone to their heads. With this next generation of consoles on the horizon, its seeming more and more like Microsoft has learned their lesson and is now capitalizing on Sony’s mistakes.
What can we do? Make noise! Remember that horrible fail that EA had with the promising title Star Wars Battlefront 2? If we can get a greedy game publisher to listen and make changes, we can do the same to Sony. As a PS4 user, and Nintendo Switch owner, I am greatly disappointed that Sony is doing the very thing that landed Microsoft where they are now. I hope that they can turn around before its too late.