Developers working on PS4 games have been given the green light to include cross-play, after an internal beta to test out the experience playing across different console platforms, like the PC, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
Cross-play has been a thorn in Sony's sides for a while now, as gamers increasingly provided with cross-platform experiences – through Xbox's compatibility with PC and even the Nintendo Switch – wonder why Sony hasn't been willing to join in, aside from a few exceptions like Rocket League and Fortnite. But that tide appears to be turning.
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As we're nearing the end of the PS4 console cycle, some might say that cross-play has come a little too late to make much of an impact. But with high-profile cross-platform game releases like Call of Duty Modern Warfare and Doom Eternal on their way, the stage could be set for a large wave of cross-play previously unseen on this generation of consoles. Maybe even Apex Legends?
Hypothetically this could mean PS4 cross-play in already released games too, though we've asked Sony for comment on this – and it's likely that we'll see more of this from devs releasing new games.
With the PS5 on the horizon, too – likely Holiday 2020, to match Microsoft's plans for Xbox Scarlett – the next generation of consoles looks set to be a more open space for collaborative play. Not a moment too soon, either.
The comment comes near the end of an interview in Wired with Sony Interactive Entertainment's president, Jim Ryan, after touching on Sony's new competitive pricing for the PlayStation Now video game streaming service.
Ryan suggests that the PS4's current dominant position might not be enough to repeat the trick with the PS5, saying that "The track record of the incumbent platform winning the next time around is not a great one [...] So the major thrust of my executive energy is to avoid complacency."
The console war won't be won on cross-play features alone, but coming to see it less as a war, and more as a community, is certainly a good thing for gamers.
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Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.