Published Date : Jun 15, 2017
Sony’s dominance in the gaming console industry at present is unquestioned. Despite the growing popularity of Xbox consoles and the sales boost likely to be provided by the recent announcement of the excellent Xbox One X, Sony’s PS4 and PS4 Pro have been ruling the roost in the gaming industry for a few years. Sony’s slightly underwhelming show at the 2017 E3 was also revealing in that Sony didn’t really need to ramp up their efforts to highlight the advantages of the PS4 range over Microsoft’s latest offering; the US$100 price gap is pretty eloquent. Sony’s exclusive games stable has been its major strength and is likely to remain the ace in its hand while Microsoft struggles to compensate a lack of exclusive titles with technological sophistication, albeit at a higher cost.
However, Sony’s use – some would say abuse – of the widespread network cultivated in its long history of development has now become potentially problematic for the gaming industry on the whole.
Blocking Game Content, Lack of Cross-Play Starting to Become a Problem
While cross-play has been a consistent feature for Xbox and Switch games, Sony has taken a stand of opting out of cross-play. While the company claims this is to prevent children, who comprise a significant part of the user demographic of many of their games, from being exposed to influences outside their control, the clear intention of the company to force more consumers to join the PlayStation network has been called out by several notable figures in the gaming sector. Some games, such as Rocket League, don’t even have the option to chat with other users, exposing Sony’s claims as dubious as best.
However, Sony has now gone one step further, with games such as Destiny 2 now containing PS-only content that will be unavailable to players using different gaming ecosystems, while the game itself will be available on other platforms. This has been criticized fiercely by Xbox head Phil Spencer as well as several gaming reviewers, as it holds back the technological progression of the gaming industry and creates an uneven playing field. With Sony refusing to budge from its position so far, the scene could be set for an interesting sequence in the gaming industry in the coming years.