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Microsoft, developers, and even Nintendo in some way have been pushing for and allowing for cross-platform gameplay. One company in particular has been very vocal about not supporting it: Sony. The company took some digs at Microsoft and Xbox Live, and Phil Spencer wasn't having any of it.
Things originally broke down when PlayStation global sales and marketing head Jim Ryan explained to Eurogamer in an interview that safety was the reason Sony wasn't allowing players to cross-congregate online between Xbox and Nintendo users. Sony is the only platform that doesn't allow for cross-play, and Ryan explained why, saying...
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.
The very obvious backhanded remark from Ryan did not go down well with the general gaming audience at all. In fact, the comment section on the Eurogamer article took exception to Ryan's comments, even explaining that his argument doesn't hold up given that there are plenty of external influences from the PC gaming audience when playing with the PS4 gaming audience, since games like Rocket League are cross-play compatible between PC and PS4.
Essentially, what would be the difference between PS4 playing with Xbox One or Nintendo Switch players as opposed to playing with those on PC? It doesn't make any sense.
Well, Xbox head honcho Phil Spencer wasn't going to take that obvious shot lying down. He did fire back during a live-stream on the Giant Bomb cast. Polygon was there to transcribe the comments from the live-stream, where Spencer offered a rebuttal to Ryan, saying...
We take the safety of Xbox Live, of our players across all of our games --- inside of Minecraft, obviously an incredibly important part of that --- it's incredibly important to our team. We would never put Minecraft in a place where we felt like [...] we weren't keeping our players safe.
However, some gamers interpreted Ryan's comments as meaning not just the influence of other players from other platforms affecting those in the PlayStation universe, but that he may have been subtly hinting at the fact that security issues could be to blame.
Eurogamer didn't completely let Ryan off the hook either, the interview aptly asked why the whole safety thing was such a big issue for Sony when Nintendo (of all companies) has been willing to allow cross-platform play between competing platforms. Ryan didn't really have much of an answer other than that Sony wasn't doing it. He did, however, leave the door open in the future for the possibility of cross-play between the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.