Microsoft has been making some bold moves with the Xbox One lately, not only bringing Xbox cross-compatibility and cross-buying to PCs, but bringing PC apps to the Xbox as well. Recently, Microsoft announced they want to bring even more cross-compatibility to the Xbox One, letting owners of the system play online games not only against other Xbox and PC players, but against Playstation 4 players as well.
There is one big question that this raises: Would Sony ever allow cross-play with the Xbox One on their end? Both Sony and Microsoft have been relying on exclusivity as one of their business tactics for years, and making it so owners of one system can play games against owners of another takes away much of the incentive for players to take sides in the console wars. It appears, however, that Microsoft may not be alone in wanting to thaw relations with its biggest competitor.
In speaking to Eurogamer at the Game Developers Conference 2016 in San Francisco, Sony Worldwide Studios' Shuhei Yoshida seemed to indicate that the biggest roadblock so far to cross-play between the Xbox One and PS4 was Microsoft, but if Microsoft was willing to change its ways, Sony was open to the possibility:
"I understand their policies changed, right? They're saying they're going to do cross-platform play between Xbox One and PC with some games. We've been doing that with PS3 and PC, PS4 and PC most recently with Street Fighter 5 and Rocket League and other games. That's noting new for us, in terms of working with developers and publishers to allow cross-platform play between PC and PS4."
Yoshida's comments sound like a subtle dig at Microsoft, pointing out that Sony has been doing cross-play with PC for years and suggesting that Microsoft was lagging behind them in that regard. The inevitable competitive jabs aside, though, how easy would it be to actually get cross-play between the Xbox One and PS4 working? According to Yoshida, that would be the easiest part:
"Because PC is an open platform it's much more straightforward. Connecting two different closed networks is much more complicated so we have to work with developers and publishers to understand what it is they are trying to accomplish.
We also have to look at the technical aspect - and the technical aspect could be the easiest. We also have to look at policy issues and business issues as well."
So will owners of the next Call of Duty game on the Xbox be able to play the game against their PS4-owning friends and vice versa? Talk is cheap, and it's up to both Microsoft and Sony to work with developers on making that happen. Perhaps once that does occur, tensions between the two camps will subside and the console wars will become a thing of the past. Or, more likely, maybe gamers will just do their trash-talking about each other's system of choice in-game in addition to forums and comments sections.
Screen Rant will have more information for you on Microsoft and Sony Cross-play functionality as details are made available.