Sony and Anti Consumerism?

Here at Honest Gaming Reviews, we have given credit where credit is due, and we give our very honest opinions, that’s just how we are, we won’t sugar coat something for the greater good, if people don’t like honesty and the truth, then so be it. We like to think our credibility comes from being honest and telling you the truth, and I have to admit, we have been vocal about the problems Microsoft has faced, and I think from this years E3 they have come through and given us a nice range of games, and it looks like most of them are spread out for release to keep momentum going.

Now, our beef with Sony isn’t to do with games, at the moment in terms of games, it seems like they can do no wrong. There bringing us blockbuster after blockbuster and us gamers are lavishing it, but the problem we can see now when we look at the other side of things is how Anti-consumer Sony is being, especially with the latest comments coming from Jim Ryan in regards Cross-Platform play. Microsoft announced at the E3 briefing that as well as a massive graphics update for Minecraft, there were going to introduce cross-platform play towards the end of the year. This was something that was touched on in their E3 briefing last year, but it is finally coming towards the end of the year.

This is going to allow players from Xbox, Switch, iOS, Android and PC to play together, build together and enjoy it with friends who don’t have the same console as them. Now you may notice that there is one noticeable absentee from the list, you got it… Playstation. Now you may be wondering, why? Why aren’t Sony involved with this, to open this up would be amazing. To have what can only be described as a utopian gaming network, bringing every gamer together to play and challenge others on different consoles is surely what dreams are made of? According to Sony that is a big fat no. There excuse for not allowing cross-platform play, according to Jim Ryan is that they are trying to protect their younger members, that they have a duty of care to protect them from ‘Outside influences’. As soon as I read that on the article my first words were and excuse the French … ‘Bullshit’.

That’s fair enough that you have a duty of care to your members, but surely, it’s the same as letting someone play on the PS network? The do say that if something was to go wrong, it would be out of their control, well, surely this is something that would be agreed beforehand, a way for each company to report and investigate anything that their members bring up. Basically, Sony can report things to Microsoft and Nintendo for them to investigate and do what they need to. It’s not as though anyone will go into this unprotected and be allowed to be abused left right and centre. OK, I can see where Sony are coming from with Minecraft, the clientele for it is a younger age than most other games, but how do they explain denying Rocket League? There is no excuse for that.

Basically, when you look at the bigger picture of this, what does Sony gain from this? Let’s look at an example. Bob plays on Xbox and has Minecraft, his friends Billy and Ben from work/school have Minecraft on PlayStation, Bob is not excited that he will be able to cross play with others, but still can’t play with Billy and Ben. It looks like the only way in which Bob is going to be able to play with his friends is if he has a Playstation. Bob now goes out and spends £250 on a PS4. Bob can now play with his friends and everyone is happy… Except for Bob who is now £250 lighter and wouldn’t have to have been if it wasn’t for that meddling Sony.

So as you can see from my example above, what did Sony gain from not allowing cross-play? They gained another member to the PS4 family, another person to pay £40 a year for PS Plus, another person who will probably spend money on PS Games. Cross-play means Sony don’t benefit from it, cross-play means that although Bob is now happy he can play Minecraft with his friends, Sony hasn’t made a sale, no money, nothing.

So the best thing that Sony can do in this instance is block cross-platform play, make people buy into their Ecosystem, because after all if someone is doing it to play online with others, they’re going to have to pay again for PS Plus, as well as pay for the game that they want to play, which ultimately will mean they will buy more games for their shiny new console.

As you can probably gauge from the above, it’s not about the fact Sony doesn’t want to do it, it’s more along the lines of why should we? Sony have a PS4 install base of 60 million, opening their network gives them a pat on the back at best, a ‘Nice One Sony, Me and Ben can play together now’, but it doesn’t give them any money, nothing of any beneficial significance. They’re in a position to just get people on board and buy their consoles, I mean just look at the amazing games they’ve got and what is coming up. It would be hard to disagree with the content that is available, and that is where they are grabbing gamers by the nutsack and not giving any other option but to buy into them.

It’s not only with cross-platform play though, if you look at other areas Sony has rejected, because basically, they wouldn’t benefit from it, EA Access, Backwards compatibility. Who does EA Access benefit? EA, of course, any subs will be going straight to them, and Sony won’t get a look in probably, other than maybe a little fee for the service being there. Backwards compatibility, does Sony benefit from this? If they allow you to have the PS3 games transfer over then no they don’t, they would benefit slightly maybe from online sales, but my guessing is most people would buy disks from retailers like GAME etc as they would most likely be cheaper than what Sony would charge for the digital copy.

So what’s the best thing to do? Create a streaming service and charge monthly for it of course. However, again with this, you have to make sure that you have an internet connection strong enough to support you streaming the games, otherwise, you could end up paying 12.99 a month for something you can’t use. OK, you can cancel whenever you like, but there are some people who may not be savvy enough and just think that this is a good deal etc.

I will say that at the end of the day, the fact that Sony’s slogan is #4ThePlayers, they don’t do much to bring the best to the players in terms of services. You can’t argue with the selection of games, but I think the company has to get it’s head out of its arse when it comes to things like cross-play, EA Access and backwards compatibility. They should seriously look at how they go about doing things in terms of services and see what’s right for the players. Allow them to play with others on different platforms, allow gamers to have the choice of what they would like to play and the external subscriptions available. At the end of the day, will it cost Sony anything to implement EA Access? If it does, I’m sure that is something that EA would pick up for them, so there not losing out, but I think the whole idea is that they aren’t gaining from it, and this is the mindset that they have to get out of.

They have good enough games within their ecosystem to warrant them getting a profit, and if they keep delivering the games and people still want to play them then anyone who doesn’t have a PS4 will naturally come over to the ecosystem, and then for them to have that cross-network play, it will still allow others to play with friends elsewhere, even if they’re not on PS, but Xbox, Switch etc.

Wouldn’t it be brilliant to have that beautiful utopian gaming network? It’s all a dream at the moment… For PS players at least.

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