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coolbeans

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Tired of this Schmidt: Staying Solo on Console Cross-Play

[NOTE #1: It’s fair to note Sony has a plethora of online games with PS4/PC cross-play enabled. Any time “cross-play” by itself is stated it’s not trying to pull a sleight of hand, but rather for brevity’s sake.]

This issue sure has reared its ugly head again! And before having to deal with the sneering rebukes from the crowd, as I'm riding the enthusiasm of this regurgitated topic, it's fair to note this wouldn't exist were it not for more nonsense PR on the topic. But I also wanted to discuss the issue of Sony's (console) cross-play restraint—along with their overboard grip on Fortnite—as an exercise against faulty takes I've seen. Perhaps also as a catalog when this debate comes up.

A preface before starting: no matter how stupid the action, company execs and/or PR will say whatever they must to save face. This is not exclusive to any one company. All have done it in the past and will do so in the future. And no poster is immune from maintaining a vendetta-based rationale on this console war stuff so hopefully nothing gets too personal. Fair enough? Okay. Onto the meat of this blog.

This past weekend, The Independent ran an article quoting Sony's Yoshida about why they don't allow cross-play on Fortnite. To no one's surprise, it was a silly response:

“On cross-platform, our way of thinking is always that PlayStation is the best place to play. Fortnite, I believe, partnered with PlayStation 4 is the best experience for users, that's our belief.” (1)

The topic of cross-play has gradually gained popularity, especially over the past year as Switch has opened its doors for console cross-play on Minecraft and Rocket League (2) (3). And there were the subsequent blunders from Sony damage control back then (4). But today, I want to use some generalized stances and attempt to rebut them. Let's get started.

1.). "You're only interested because of who's being targeted!"

Rebuttal #1: The tactic of distraction. We should focus on the PRINCIPLE of the matter & whether this consumer-friendly idea should be implemented more broadly. Personifying the company not doing the beneficial thing in question as a victim of selective criticism continues to be ridiculous.

2.). "Convenient timing to start talking about it now, ain’t it?!?!"

Rebuttal #2: For starters, *see Rebut #1*. The trend of recycling this discussion is heavily inspired by games’ online-only setup much more often today. Such ‘subtle’ suggestions disregard the history of cross-play’s popularity among vocal developers as well, which is why I can only recall learning about this stuff during the 8th generation. It’s a topic that hadn’t really latched on with mainstream outlets outside the rare examples of 7th gen console MMO’s anyways; expecting the same kind of firestorm as there is today isn’t reasonable given those circumstances.

3.). "That's funny. I don't remember PlayStation fans causing a ruckus about this when M$ put hurdles on potential cross-play titles!"

Rebuttal #3: Again, *see Rebut #1*. You're also incorrect, as there's proof on this very site. While it's harder to track down cross-play articles from 7th gen, many posters took issue with MS when Square Enix discussed it as the reason FF14 Online didn't get a Xbox One version years ago (5) (6). Even if you want to decry how YOU personally weren't engaged in that discussion, strengthening my Rebuttal #2 in the process, the fact remains: it was talked about here and the majority thought it was a foolish stance to have. If you have now read this portion and seen the easily-provided links I ask you to stop spreading disinformation.

4.). "Wow...MS was initially the problem when it comes to this but now the tables have turned and Sony's just doing the same business."

Rebuttal #4: In my view there's two strands of reactive arguments going on here: comeuppance and financial.

In respect to getting back at MS: then you're implicitly agreeing that having a walled garden from other consoles IS a blemish. You see where this goes, right? If such an action by MS is considered a dark blot on their past—with similar reasoning as Yoshida currently has—then why should it be hunky-dory now? You can't have it both ways.

Further, one can now posit the claim that Sony may not have been all that sincere in suggesting cross-console play with the 360 were the roles different. After all, why not?

Publisher X: Began a hardline stance of keeping online service a walled garden, which has now changed its tune and has been open to cross-play across virtually everything (when appropriate like with Minecraft).
Publisher Y: Began with a more open stance to cross-console play, which has now changed its tune to remain a semi-walled garden (with the same flawed reasoning from publisher X of years past)

Neither have remained consistent in their intentions; only one has moved forward in a positive way.

And if we're going to provide defense for Sony based on a business lens well...you're hitting a few inconsistent strands here:

• If taking down the walled garden with other consoles SUPPOSEDLY is like helping your competition, then why did MS get dragged through the mud on this to begin with?
• If you're striving to be consistent, finding the ideal most beneficial for consumers should be the focus. It’s easy to decry yet another round of EA’s newfound DLC tactics, yet the tune becomes more relaxed and considerate of how this effects Sony’s bottom line.
• BONUS: If the PS4 is “the best way to play” then their business should continue to flourish regardless of enabling cross-play.

5). "This is essentially a non-issue that I, and many others, don't see what the ruckus is about."

Rebuttal #5: Well, if you're one of those who's never had a strong opinion on it—regardless of who looked worse at the time—then I appreciate the honesty; but at the same time, just because you're apathetic to the issue doesn't mean we're all now obligated to be in lockstep with you. This is the strangest phenomenon when looking at this topic too: the bizarre demand for everyone else to have the same indifference as you do.

We can simply look at the issue, acknowledge how it one less functional thing that COULD be in this version of the game, and how obnoxious justifications have been for this in the past (1) (4). If it's just a minor deal then it should be of no concern to acknowledge this chink in the armor.

If you're one of those apathetic to this whole charade perhaps I can implore you to have a more comprehensive approach too. You see...maybe consider less of the topic of cross-play itself and more of the arrogance that seems to be guiding the decision. Because hubris has a nasty habit of not staying in one place forever. Fortnite on PS4 is an example. This issue doesn't/didn’t only include cross-console play but also the locking of Epic accounts on their system (7).

What's important—and also somewhat depressing—is this topic isn't of earth-shattering infamy. Even I knew this before typing. I've expanded my thoughts on the topic just as a send-off from this previous week's top article (8). Even if minor, their stance is looking more archaic as more of the industry harps on it (9), and the reasoning utilized to support said decision mirrors the same sneering attitude that *enter your most hated game publisher here* has employed before. When you see others criticizing such actions consider this: whataboutism may not be the best way to approach this going forward.

Links:

1. https://www.destructoid.com...
2. https://www.theverge.com/20...
3. https://www.windowscentral....
4. https://www.eurogamer.net/a...
5. https://kotaku.com/final-fa...
6. http://n4g.com/news/1793171...
7. https://www.polygon.com/201...
8. http://n4g.com/news/2199069...
9. https://www.polygon.com/201...

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coolbeans69d ago

Hey! Hope everyone enjoyed the blog. Feel free to leave comments and/or questions below. If it's about butting heads on the topic: hopefully it's straightforward & good-natured (but not without some bite).

So...in the context of what's been stated by other people/businesses, it's unsettling as to how conveniently how this blog and my next planned one fall into place. I've kinda had a blog like this in mind in the past--though wasn't too bothered to make it; but then, as vaguely referenced in the blog, I was unable to respond to that popular cross-play on here this past weekend ( http://n4g.com/news/2199069... ) after my first reply. Kept getting a server error message only on THAT specific article for some reason. I'm just one of those weird guys who HAD to respond in some way or another.

So, that's a rare glimpse behind-the-scenes as to why I wanted to discuss this.

64d ago Replies(7)
Apocalypse Shadow68d ago

It was not silly for the Sony Rep to promote his product as it is the largest console network to play games on. This manufactured PR outrage is also not growing in popularity. Only the hot air from smaller communities who have dying player bases because of lack of game sales compared to their competition. They love to play online but the lobbies are dwindling and they want added support. If their offline campaigns in their games were well made and not just relying on multiplayer, they would have more sales. Because even with Sony's massive 82 million players, more than half don't play online. And as we have seen recently,single player games still sell when it's well made. That's money left on the developer's table.

But if it happens, it happens. PS4 gamers don't care either way. But entitled developers and gamers have to understand that the logistics isn't as easy as flipping a switch. Commentors always ignoring how the networks will be connected and how to handle dlc and micro transactions sold going forward. I would gather that there is a percentage of PS4 gamers that used to be Xbox gamers,left their friends behind,but now want to play again with their friends but eat their cake too(Sony exclusives)

But I'm going to leave this discussion with this. These developers who have a problem with Sony or any company saying, "No.""I'll think about it." could create their own consoles and own networks if it's such a big deal. But they don't and won't. They'd rather Sony take the financial risk spending billions of dollars creating the console and network and make it a success. Then make demands on how it should be run and ride Sony's success. That's entitlement.

This reminds me of a moment in history when Americans(I'm American. Black actually) and Europeans forced their way into Japan. Not for the well being of Japan and it's **walled garden.** But to make massive profits and sell their goods by force. Because the money they made was not enough at home.
http://afe.easia.columbia.e...

Don't think for a minute that Microsoft is just doing this "4 the players." Or out of the kindness of their hearts. There's an agenda as there always is. And it's called MONEY.

coolbeans68d ago (Edited 68d ago )

-"It was not silly for the Sony Rep to promote his product as it is the largest console network to play games on."

No, it was silly to present this kind of argument in the context of cross-play because it bespeaks the arrogance whilst maintaining a position that looks more old-hat with each passing year.

-"This manufactured PR outrage is also not growing in popularity. Only the hot air from smaller communities who have dying player bases because of lack of game sales compared to their competition."

Seems like you're the one blowing hot air. For one, this year & last are the two most popular years when it comes to discussing this topic (Minecraft, Rocket League, etc.). However smaller-in-size they are--which is probably exaggerated in scope, it still hasn't stopped the same companies from shuttering servers across ALL platforms. Also, this is means of distraction. Popularity shouldn't matter but rather the principle of whether this is a beneficial thing to have.

-"But entitled developers and gamers have to understand that the logistics isn't as easy as flipping a switch. Commentors always ignoring how the networks will be connected and how to handle dlc and micro transactions sold going forward."

Uh virtually no one of significance has suggested no work is needed to accomplish this; devs like Psyonix have already done the work necessary and Sony's 'political barrier' is the only thing keeping it from happening. https://www.polygon.com/e3/...

-"These developers who have a problem with Sony or any company saying, "No.""I'll think about it." could create their own consoles and own networks if it's such a big deal. But they don't and won't. They'd rather Sony take the financial risk spending billions of dollars creating the console and network and make it a success. Then make demands on how it should be run and ride Sony's success. That's entitlement."

1.) Okay...now you're just presenting this rosy lens of how Sony's reacted to this. What they're doing behind closed doors is a different story, but personifying them as anything other than digging their heels at every public opportunity (atm) is being too generous.
2.) "You want cross-platform play then make your own console!" kind of reveals just how off-course your thinking is atm. You're building this warped narrative of how the free market works with gaming: 3rd party devs house teams with various artists looking to make games, Sony/Ninty/MS/etc. have experience, R&D, etc. in hardware to get said games to more people, both give the other advantages by one now having more valuable hardware (plus skimming money from physical or digital copies sold) and the other has eyeballs to reach a mass market.
3.) This loopy thinking also feeds into what you determine as "entitlement" here. It's especially harmed since devs like Psyonix house THEIR OWN servers here, so that work is offloaded to them. All they've been waiting on is a thumbs-up from Sony.

-"Don't think for a minute that Microsoft is just doing this "4 the players." Or out of the kindness of their hearts."

Oh shoot! I knew there was one distracting argument I forgot to list in the blog. I don't care how sweet & genuine the intentions are of someone like MS doing this, the pro-consumer principle remains the same.

Apocalypse Shadow68d ago (Edited 68d ago )

It is not arrogant no matter where he said it. He believes PlayStation is the best place to play. That's called an opinion.
https://www.theverge.com/20...
***On cross-platform, our way of thinking is always that PlayStation is the best place to play. Fortnite, I believe, partnered with PlayStation 4 is the best experience for users, that’s our belief.***

***I BELIEVE** That's not arrogance. You just read it the way you wanted to.

That's his belief. He didn't say his network is SUPERIOR like some Xbox sites made it out to be. He's more than entitled to have an opinion for his company and his product. Nintendo or Microsoft are more than entitled to say that about their networks. It's not arrogant.

It's only discussed because Microsoft brought it up and went to twitter to push forth their agenda. And, developers making Xbox games that want a united base of gamers for their games off the back of someone else's network(Sony's). To make money off of one large pool of gamers.

Actually yes. Gamers think it's easy because of companies like Epic that showed you can play across networks using fortnite as an example. But it doesn't take into account dlc and micro transactions sold on each network. It should be in game or from the developer's own cloud service. Some can't afford that so they need a host. And companies like Microsoft would be more than willing to host for a small fee for major profits going forward.

The course is Sony's to make. It's not EA's, Activision's, Ubisoft's, etc network. It's Sony's. They abide by the rules or don't sell their games on the network. That's what you don't get. You don't tell someone else how to run their network.

And gamers need to understand that someone saying "No!" for their console,their network and their player base is not anti consumer. It's theirs to decide. You're not entitled to a say in their business matters. Only on if you want to buy their product or not. Stop feeling entitled. They don't have to connect their network to anyone unless they wish it. And they do for PC and mobile. Until otherwise.

coolbeans68d ago (Edited 68d ago )

-"***I BELIEVE** That's not arrogance. You just read it the way you wanted to. "

First issue: It's rather funny for you to be criticizing my skewed interpretation after what you stated in your previous comment. Personifying it as "No. I'll think about it" is WAY more flimsy than assessing arrogance in this situation.

Second: Also funny for his BELIEF to be stressed by you as though that magically disregards the context around the question or their actions. I'm not buying this Kool-Aid being tossed around of context being totally skewed here. To put to the test: "Question: In regards to Fortnite [Cross-Play issue] why not allow it? Answer: Because our thinking is always that PlayStation is the best place to play." This is literally the FIRST sentence of the response with only the unnecessary fat removed. Obviously there is more to it, but none of what's stated afterwards directly contradicts this line of thinking; such thinking and action which has gone above and beyond with Fortnite and the controversy of chaining down Epic accounts to PS4. You can bleat contrary all you like, but it's simply arrogance.

-"And, developers making Xbox games that want a united base of gamers for their games off the back of someone else's network(Sony's). To make money off of one large pool of gamers."

What do you mean? Most examples we're talking about are multiplatform games. And in respect to cross-play on Rocket League (which I've highlighted before), Psyonix handles Psynet so you're bringing up this woe-is-Sony narrative about others piggy-backing off their network even when it doesn't apply.

-"Gamers think it's easy because of companies like Epic that showed you can play across networks using fortnite as an example. But it doesn't take into account dlc and micro transactions sold on each network."

*Sigh* I'm not really sure what invisible hurdle I'm going to have to cross here, First, you generalize gamers as thinking it's like "flipping a switch" and how they don't consider auxiliary factors. Really, it's more a case of them knowing it CAN be done by talented devs, would like to be done, and let the companies figure DLC stuff out. It's not THAT difficult--especially with how Psyonix talked about it on their end ( https://www.polygon.com/e3/... ).

-"And gamers need to understand that someone saying "No!" for their console,their network and their player base is not anti consumer. It's theirs to decide. You're not entitled to a say in their business matters. Only on if you want to buy their product or not. Stop feeling entitled."

Yeesh! I had planned for the more...'dedicated' to take an apathetic tone regarding the situation, but never a fully-fledged opposite reaction. "Hey want to know what criticizing the stick in the mud on a beneficial feature to consumers really is? Entitlement!"

And can we get past these empty retorts like "it's their network" as if this hasn't been a foregone conclusion in the minds of everyone? XBL, PSN, Steam, GOG, etc. We all now they have patents and everything. That doesn't mean no criticism can be aired about this now. And that's the weird thing: developers wanting the most people to get the most out of their game are considered entitled for considering the benefits too? I guess THIS would be the new strangest phenomenon: lambasting vocal gamers and devs alike for recognizing and wanting added functionality that's a general positive moving forward.

Apocalypse Shadow67d ago

Name this multitude of developers asking for it? Show me a list. Remember, there's hundreds of developers. The outspoken you've heard from is less than 20. Probably even 10. But you use that as many developers are asking for it. Show the list.

Show me on Sony's request site that it's the most requested feature by gamers. Show the numbers.

Don't use clickbait sites looking for hits and ad revenue as proof.

What company initiated it this gen? Why do you believe they have no ulterior motives? Remember,this is Microsoft. The king of misleading PR. Do I really need to present examples?

You continue to ignore that it's their network. You buying their product doesn't give ownership. The fact that it disappears from being spoke about means it's not that big a deal as you make it. You didn't buy a PlayStation assuming that it was going to play with Microsoft or Nintendo. No one says it's a bad idea. Just the motive behind the company known for lying, misleading and manipulating gamers on a continual basis for their own gain.

The fact that your opinion article was all but ignored by everyone on this site says it's not a big issue. But I'm done until another PR article tries to make it a big deal for clicks.

coolbeans67d ago

-"Name this multitude of developers asking for it? Show me a list. Remember, there's hundreds of developers."

1.) To list out the instances I'm aware of devs touching on the matter in 7th gen & 8th gen: Trion Worlds intent with Defiance, Square Enix with Final Fantasy 14 Online, Epic Games (Fortnite), Psyonix (Rocket League), Microsoft (Minecraft), Wildcard Studios (ARK: Survival Evolved), Bethesda's Todd Howard (Fallout 76). I've provided info for most of these already.

https://www.polygon.com/201...

2.) Argument from popularity is still fallacious reasoning. What arbitrary threshold must be met by you before you reconsider the validity of the issue? 25, 50, 100? Why not focus on what the current developers have said on the issue, consider the principle of the issue, and judge its validity from there?

-"Show me on Sony's request site that it's the most requested feature by gamers. Show the numbers."

Building a strawman, I see. A quote from the blog I'm sure you read very carefully: "What's important—and also somewhat depressing—is this topic isn't of earth-shattering infamy. Even I knew this before typing."
I've never over-exaggerated to the point of declaring this Sony's most critical issue or most fan-demanded feature; in fact, my argument against those who find it to be a non-issue: if it doesn't affect you deeply then you should have no problem acknowledging this minor chink in Sony's armor. Then again, perhaps I was being too naive to believe it was that simple.

-"What company initiated it this gen?"

Umm...Sony was literally the one open to it during the beginning of this gen with FF14 Online. It's linked in the blog, along with N4G posters' reactions to that news. lol

-"Why do you believe they have no ulterior motives?"

So now you're not even reading my replies fairly. I never stated MS didn't have ulterior motives (all companies do). To repeat: I don't care how sweet & genuine the intentions are of someone like MS doing this, the pro-consumer principle remains the same.

coolbeans67d ago

(Part 2)

-"You continue to ignore that it's their network. You buying their product doesn't give ownership."

Not really, but you continue to ignore and/or twist what I've said across several comments now. I've only touched on it in passing because your premise was built on a house of sticks. You made it out as though these "entitled" devs just wanted more & more out of Sony's network investment. I'm not going to follow this trail b/c it disregards basic free-market ideas in the gaming market. Both have something to give to the other. And these devs aren't leeching off of Sony to make the effort for cross-play. As I've stated before, all the backdoor technical stuff has been done and tested by developers like Psyonix; plus, they handle those servers (which are called Psynet) so your network argument doesn't even universally apply.

-"No one says it's a bad idea. Just the motive behind the company known for lying, misleading and manipulating gamers on a continual basis for their own gain."

Except that's just a shallow excuse. Now we're at this neutral stance ("not saying it's a bad idea") but hesitant to say much else just b/c the boogeyman changed their mind and is moving forward with the concept? By this logic, any pro-consumer decision made by them is more tainted b/c of past actions, not on more rational, objective considerations.

-"The fact that your opinion article was all but ignored by everyone on this site says it's not a big issue."

Eh...I don't know. Maybe, maybe not. You're disregarding the fact that user-submitted stuff is tougher to keep tabs on now versus the site's previous setup. It's not uncommon for user blogs to be over 1 day old upon reaching the front page.

Apocalypse Shadow67d ago (Edited 67d ago )

Yup. It's Friday. And which site creates another article about this for clicks?

Gamebolt.

If a thousand straws were placed next to each other, you could lay on it as a bed. That's how strong those straws are.

Read console gamer's comments in it that mirror my thoughts on the matter. No matter how cool it would be, financially it negatively benefits Sony.

Possible

One less console sold
One less subscription sold
One less game sold to collect royalties on
One less dlc and micro transaction sold
One less exclusive sold
One less dollar made that could go into creating more 1st party content,support the hardware and maintenance the network

Doesn't matter what gamers want when it comes to connecting to other consoles that weren't connected before. Financially it doesn't make sense to say yes when you calculate how much potential loss it would be to them. PC is excluded as it is not a console or direct competitor.

Microsoft's next move would be,and I've said it before in the past in a thread

"Play all your cross play multiplatform games on the most power console in the world."

Yoy know they will say it. Because, as a business, I would do the same thing to increase xbox sales. And those gamers will buy dlc on the most powerful console in the world. Making Microsoft money and Sony less money.

It doesn't benefit Sony. End of.

coolbeans66d ago

-"Read console gamer's comments in it that mirror my thoughts on the matter. No matter how cool it would be, financially it negatively benefits Sony."

So...I was able to do that after digging through the main page (other priorities have gotten in the way since your response). And the stuff you throw here and him about potential financial loss strikes me as more tenuous armchair-economist reasoning. The reason I don't feel very comfortable with delving into these hypotheticals is that at the end of the day it's an unknown. It really is. Heck, if you want to discuss financial repercussions surrounding this let's go to Fortnite BR:

-News gets widely circulated of how PS4 is locking Fortnite accounts out
-It becomes one of the most talked about subjects around E3 (when news broke)
-Less people are compelled to place their Fortnite accounts on PS4 in the future, and thus put their $$$ towards battle passes on other more-open systems, due to this.

I know this is only tangentially tied to cross-play news, but there's already more texture with this deduction in comparison to more abstract "well they won't be compelled to pay for this or this on a more-open system" which can only be hypothesized. That's why I'm more interested in the consumerist principle about this relatively new functionality: because we can all understand the concept and what's beneficial for online communities in the long term.

-And if we are going to go on and on about the financial impacts of cross-play, is it fair to say MS got an unfair shake with their previous approach to this based on your reasoning here?

http://n4g.com/news/1793171...

Understand: I don't what YOU alone to have to personally atone for what others have said on here. You don't even have to directly respond to this portion of comment. Only providing some context as what partly compelled me to make this blog in the first place.

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