Will there ever be cross-play support between Xbox One and PlayStation 4? If it never happens, it won’t be for lack of trying, it seems. Microsoft marketing manager Aaron Greenberg recently told GameReactor that Microsoft is “absolutely” in talks with Sony about potential cross-play support–but Sony apparently won’t allow it.
“We’re talking to Sony [about crossplay],” he said. “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.”
This is just the latest in a long history of comments from Microsoft about its desire to connect Xbox Live and PlayStation Network. Back at E3, where Microsoft announced cross-play support for Minecraft between Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, Xbox’s Dave McCarthy confirmed discussions with Sony about cross-play took place. But pressed for more details, he laughed when saying Sony wasn’t ready to support the feature, suggesting talks have not progressed all that well.
“Quite frankly, we’d love to have Sony there. We discussed it,” he said at the time. “They’re not quite there yet [laughs] on support for that. But my hope is that they join the party as well because I think it’s an awesome thing to do for gamers.”
In March 2016, Microsoft publicly announced that it was open to connecting Xbox Live to other gaming networks, including PlayStation Network and Nintendo’s own online service. Sony later suggested it was open to this, but it has not happened yet, and it doesn’t seem like it will soon.
PlayStation executive Jim Ryan said one reason why Sony isn’t allowing cross-play between PS4 and Xbox One for Minecraft is because the company is concerned about the safety of its users. If Sony allowed PSN to connect to an outside network like Xbox Live, Sony would not be able to fully control the experience. This could potentially put its users, in particular children, at risk, Ryan said.
Xbox boss Phil Spencer responded to Ryan’s comments, saying the dialogue that Ryan engaged in is unhealthy for the industry overall, and took issue with his suggestion that Microsoft doesn’t do enough to keep users safe.
“I would love for players on all platforms to stay connected,” Spencer said. “The fact that somebody would make an assertion that somehow we’re not keeping Minecraft players safe … I found, not only from a Microsoft perspective but an industry perspective, I don’t know why that has to become the dialogue. That doesn’t seem healthy for anyone. We can always do better with anything we do. I find the whole discussion around safety with our game and that somehow we wouldn’t take that as a top priority … and frankly, through our parental controls on Xbox Live and everything else that we’ve done, shown that that’s incredible important to us as a platform.”
This is an ongoing story, of course, so keep checking back with GameSpot for the latest.