Psyonix, the studio behind Rocket League, has commented on Sony’s recent move to finally allow cross-play between PS4, Switch, and Xbox One users. It turns out that, for the time being, the massively popular game is going to continue to keep PS4 players seperated. Jeremy Dunham, the VP of Publishing at Psyonix, gave a statement to Destructoid about the matter, saying that the team is “really happy” that Sony has made this decision and the team considers it to be a “great step forward”. Psyonix also acknowledged the desire from the Rocket League community to have this full functionality across all platforms, but as of right now they “don’t have any updates”. The statement ends on an interesting note, with Psyonix saying “we recommended reaching out to PlayStation directly for any further comment”.
But wait, what happened to all that big talk from before, Psyonix?
This reaction from Psyonix is interesting due to the fact that it’s arguably contradictory to the studio’s past statements on the matter. Back in 2017 in an interview with Polygon, the aforementioned Dunham noted that the team really wanted cross-play on all platforms, and described Sony’s push against it as being a “political barrier”. He kept pinning the blame on Sony simply not giving Psyonix permission to go through with it. Dunham also said that the functionality could be enabled by simply hitting a checkbox on a webpage. In another interview with Engadget, Dunham had stated that the Rocket League team (at least at the time) had talked to Sony every day about cross-play.
Thus, this new aforementioned statement from Dunham does come off as being a flip-flop. That said, the situation could be more complicated than it looks, but given how adamant Dunham and his team were about the matter before, it just seems odd for them to now essentially just roll over and shrug it off.
Cross-platform multiplayer has been a hot topic all year in the gaming world due to Sony’s strong stance against it. In recent months, the company has taken a strict approach to limit cross-play to only PS4 and PC players, purposefully omitting connectivity with players on Switch and Xbox One. All sorts of different reasons have been given by different Sony executives at this point. But, none of the responses were good enough to stop a hefty chunk of the gaming community from calling Sony out on its apparent arrogance—myself included. Thus, the company’s recent move to reverse its policy is rather interesting.
But, the apparent lifting of the PS4 cross-play ban is clearly still limited. As evidenced by this situation with Psyonix and Rocket League, it seems that full cross-play functionality between PS4, Switch and Xbox One players is going to be decided upon on a case-by-case basis. Of course, this isn’t exactly how gamers want it, but it’s not as if Sony has suddenly had a change of heart. This decision was likely made for PR reasons, but that’s a whole other story.
In the meantime, Rocket League players on Switch, Xbox One and PC can continue on with business as usual. This also applies to all the other games both large and small that have the functionality, such as Minecraft.