Wargroove developer says Sony is still blocking Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4 cross-play

Wargroove
Wargroove (Image credit: Chucklefish)

Cross-play is quickly becoming an industry standard as Microsoft and Nintendo lead the way. A lot of titles are cross-play between both platforms, and more games are constantly being updated with the feature. Unfortunately, Sony is still a little slow to the party and has only allowed a handful of games like Fortnite to implement the feature.

Many developers have spoken out in the past about Sony's restrictions, and how even to this day cross-play is hard to implement because Sony doesn't easily grant approval in the beta program. However, Shawn Layden, the current Chairman of Sony Internative Entertainment Worldwide Studios, claims otherwise.

In an interview with Game Informer, Layden placed the blame on developers because they haven't reached out to their PlayStation account managers. He said the following.

We got to that place in Fortnite and it seems to be going reasonably well, from what I can tell. The Rocket League light up will happen soon. People keep saying, 'Why doesn't Sony allow more people to have it?' We're open for business on this one. All it takes is for publishers and developers who wish to permission it. As ever, just work with your PlayStation account manager, and they will walk you through the steps that we've learned through our partnership with Epic Games on how this works. I don't believe right now there is any gating factor on that. I think they're open to make proposals, because the Fortnite thing worked pretty well.

However, in response to this accusation, the Wargroove developer hit back. The head of Chucklefish — the team also behind titles like Stardew Valley — Finn Brice said the following.

We just launched Wargroove with cross-play between PC, Switch and Xbox One so I wanted to chime in. We made many requests for cross-play, both through our account manager and directly with higher-ups, all the way up until release month. We were told in no uncertain terms that it was not going to happen. From our side, we can literally toggle a switch and have it working. Of course policy work might be more complicated for Sony. Just wanted to provide some balance on the issue and say that it certainly isn't a question of developers having not contacted their account managers or having dropped the ball. We were told no.

It's evident that Sony is still making it hard for smaller developers to implement cross-play because they're being denied. It's unclear why Layden implied otherwise. Hopefully the two parties can work together to bring cross-play to Wargroove in the near future.

It's clear that cross-play is the future of the industry, but Sony has been reluctant due to its tremendous sales advantage over the Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. We may have to wait until next-generation consoles release in 2020 — and the console race starts again — for it to become a standard feature.

Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.

17 Comments
  • And now next to Layden, developers got Jim Ryan to deal with too since he's the new SIE CEO. Besides him doing good in europe, Man is anti Crossplay pro censorship with bad known PR skills. 😅 i felt kinda sad and confused after i read that he was taking over.
  • Sony sucks. Ok
  • With Sonys sizeable lead in console sales over the competition and the fact they are the game media's darlings I just don't hink they care and can say and do whatever they want without consequences at this stage.
  • Not really since it can change radically from one generation to the next... Console market is not a sure thing in the long run...
  • Sony afraid of how bad their console will run games against PC and XB1X, not even close.
  • "for the players"
  • Lately since Xmas and the whole Sony not at E3 2019 I been thinking. Sony are about to screw up like they did with PS3. And like MS did with Xbox One. So we have rumors that backward compatibility could not happen on PS5. They are vocally making it obvious they have no plans for a cloud network like Xcloud. They are blocking cross play and blaming devs when it isn't them. And if they build the PS5 around PSVR 2, then Sony will have the same issue MS had building Xbox One around Kinect. Sure VR fans won't like me saying that PSVR is a failire. But it is. It has rediculously terrible sales. And the power sacrifices Xbox had to make to incorporate Kinect 2.0 the public didn't like. The same will be for PS5 if it's designed for VR. I have a feeling MS will kill it at E3 with Xcloud and new studio game announcements from Ninja Theory and Playground Games specifically. And a couoke more acquisitions. Like I/O Interactive for 1. Sony are not looking and saying very good things at the minute.
  • ps5 back compat. is suppose to be emulator based rather than Native that Xbox has. why I think they swapped CEO's is because they want a foot in the cloud gaming business, and build their on dedicated ''Netflix for games'' than PS Now.
  • Trouble is they just don't have the infrastructure. Spencer said they have been building Xcloud for 5 years. And all the in house staff have been using it on their holidays out in real world servers. If Sony haven't been building it already, they are 5-10 years behind a company that already has worldwide server farms in Azure. Sure people will hate on me for saying this, but Sony I'm afraid over the course of the next 10 years are going to be left way way behind as gaming shifts to play what you want on any device through a service. And Xbox as a service has now got a ton of first party to back up Azure.
  • Sony will continue to heavily rely on their single player campaign only exclusives. The so called one and done exclusives with little to no replay value. If they introduce these games on a games like 'netflix' subscription nobody would ever buy their exclusives because majority would play those games a few times and have no reason to buy and play it again.
  • That's the idea though. Take MS as an example. People think they are bolstering first party to rival Sony. When it's much more likely they are doing it for Gamepass and Xcloud. Think about it. If they can have a total of 16 or more studios, and each studio takes 4 years to make a game as good as it can be. That's 4 Exclusives per year releasing free on Gamepass. Enough to warrant consumers just keeping Gamepass for the year. Every year. There is already talk of another couoke of Acquisitions announced at E3 this year for MS. I know the Sony fans don't want to hear it. But they are in serious danger of being left behind. The same way MS was slow to the smartphone market. Sony are in danger of the same with this shift in gaming anywhere anytime your whole library of content.
  • Good points. The only thing is that I still think MS will have a hard time gaining traction in Asia. It seems that Sony/Nintendo have always dominated that market. A lot of that is cultural as well. But if XB1 finishes strong and the next gen Xbox is off to a good start(which it sounds like it could be) then look out Sony!
  • Forgive my ignorance, but what's the actual difference between PS Now and XCloud? Because they seem to me to be the same thing on paper.
  • Ps now doesn't allow you to play your entire library of games you have on your PS4. Xcloud is basically you taking your Xbox with you. Dashboard and all. Any new release, gamepass all of it. And it reduces latency by using certain high latency code processed on the device your using. It's taken 5 years to develop the code for it. It will be available on any Android or IOS device and windows of course. So Android TVs for example. All you will need is a controller.
  • Lol 'greatness awaits'.
  • With all this it's pretty apparent that Sony will only allow Crossplay where the game is big enough to where the amount of bad PR can actually have an impact on them. Games like Fortnite and Rocket League are huge so they have to allow it because it outweighs the bad PR. A newer smaller game like Wargroove will get laughed at when the question comes up.
  • Well, that's a known thing within companies in general: The more you silo, the sooner you'll be passed and be left behind. LET Sony be this way and have them be shown their hands when they're left in the dust.