For years now, developers and players have expressed frustration with Sony’s consistent decision to not allow PS4 games to play nicely with versions on competing consoles. Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida, however, seems perfectly happy with this state of affairs, saying that the decision is based on what provides the “best user experience” for players.
“On cross-platform, our way of thinking is always that PlayStation is the best place to play,” Yoshida said at last week’s IFA conference in Germany (as reported by The Independent). “Fortnite, I believe, partnered with PlayStation 4 is the best experience for users. That’s our belief.”
Of course, where Fortnite is concerned, PS4 players are also blocked from using their Epic-run player accounts on other consoles after those accounts are linked to a PS4. So when Yoshida says he believes Fortnite is best when “partnered with PlayStation 4,” that’s apparently a belief his company is willing to impose on its customers using rather stringent technical protections.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Yoshida noted that Sony does often allow the PS4 to offer cross-platform play with PC and mobile platforms even as other consoles are blocked. “We decide based on what is the best user experience,” Yoshida said of the difference in these cases. “That is our way of thinking for cross-platform.”
Yoshida’s remarks come just over a month after Sony Interactive Entertainment America President and CEO Shawn Layden said he was “confident” the company would find a “solution” to the PS4’s cross-console gameplay problem. Yoshida’s remarks also conflict with those of former head of Sony Online Entertainment John Smedley, who said in a since-deleted tweet (archived here) that “money” was the “dumb reason” mentioned internally for the lack of PS4 cross-console play.
“They didn’t like someone buying something on an Xbox and it being used on a Playstation,” Smedley said, bluntly.
On Twitter, Xbox Corporate Vice President Mike Ybarra used Yoshida’s remarks as an opportunity say Sony “still isn’t listening to gamers. All games should be cross play and progression with the right input flexibility and gamer options.” Later, Ybarra added that “gaming is diverse, if you only serve to bring joy to part of an audience then you are behind in many, many ways.”
The only thing that seems likely to get Sony to budge on this issue, at this point, is publishers withholding their games from the PS4 if the cross-console block remains in place. Bethesda is already threatening to do just that with the upcoming console release of Elder Scrolls Legends, though so far there are no signs that this is the start of a trend.