Microsoft E3 2017: Sony's Reasoning For Blocking Cross-Play Is "Unhealthy," Xbox Exec Says
"We would never put Minecraft in a place where we felt like we weren't keeping our players safe."
Earlier this week, PlayStation executive Jim Ryan said one reason why Sony isn't allowing cross-play between PS4 and Xbox One for Minecraft is because the company is concerned about the safety of its users. If Sony allowed PSN to connect to an outside network like Xbox Live, Sony would not be able to fully control the experience. This could potentially put its users, in particular children, at risk, Ryan said.
Speaking tonight on GameSpot sister site Giant Bomb's E3 livestream, Xbox boss Phil Spencer responded to Ryan's comments, though he did not mention him by name. He said the dialogue that Ryan engaged in is unhealthy for the industry overall, and took issue with his suggestion that Microsoft doesn't do enough to keep users safe.
"I would love for players on all platforms to stay connected," Spencer said. "The fact that somebody would make an assertion that somehow we're not keeping Minecraft players safe ... I found, not only from a Microsoft perspective but an industry perspective, I don't know why that has to become the dialogue. That doesn't seem healthy for anyone. We can always do better with anything we do. I find the whole discussion around safety with our game and that somehow we wouldn't take that as a top priority … and frankly, through our parental controls on Xbox Live and everything else that we've done, shown that that's incredible important to us as a platform."
All of that being said, Spencer said "the door is open" to working with Sony on cross-play. He added that safety is "incredibly important" for Microsoft's team. "We would never put Minecraft in a place where we felt like we weren't keeping our players safe," he explained.
During Microsoft's briefing on Sunday, the company announced cross-play between Xbox One and Nintendo Switch for Minecraft. When Switch users boot up the new version of Minecraft, they will need to log in with an Xbox Live account. Microsoft's Dave McCarthy told GameSpot at E3 this week that the company has had discussions with Sony about cross-play, but Sony is "not quite there yet."
"My hope is that they join the party as well because I think it's an awesome thing to do for gamers," he said.
In March 2016, Microsoft publicly announced that it was open to connecting Xbox Live to other gaming networks, including PlayStation Network and Nintendo's own online service. Sony later suggested it was open to this, but it has not happened yet, and it doesn't seem like it will soon.
For lots more on E3 2017, GameSpot's coverage here.