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Cross-Platform Play: Where We Are Today and Why It’s a Huge Step Forward

For decades now video game console generations have not only revolved around the competing sales and constant urge to ‘one-up’ their competitors, but evolved into clever marketing schemes, branding one console better than its counterparts or nabbing the exclusive titles to draw-in a potential growing fanbase. With no sign of a merging console market and developers coming up with unique and different experiences to create on different consoles during the same generation cycle, we’re starting to visualize a gaming community adapting to the multiple powerhouses running the entertainment medium we all love so dearly.

So fast-forward to the announcement from Rocket League creators, Psyonix, adding the cross-platform play experience between Xbox Live and Steam players. It felt as though the industry was gaining ground on a long-running endeavor to broaden the online gaming community. Now, at the most recent E3 events, the makers of Minecraft at Mojang studios announced all-around cross-platform play for its hit building, creating and exploration title. From Xbox and Nintendo to all mobile devices it’s available on, Minecraft players will have the availability to join forces from other players of the vast realm of video games. That is, all players except those from Sony, for now.

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Playstation owners will have to hold on tightly as Sony representatives cautiously approach the idea of merging the gaming networks. In recent explanations in an interview by Eurogamer, Playstation executive Jim Ryan provided some minimal reasons as to why the console has yet to merge with other big-name systems. The safety of children involved in online play and the lack of control over the external influences are what Ryan focused on being the reason for Playstation’s absence in the latest evolution in the gaming market.

With all of that being said, let’s hope, pray or even beg for, not only the Playstation systems to climb aboard the cross-play train, but to keep that very train chugging forward, for the sake of the community. Giving players the freedom to choose the console of their liking, but at the same time allowing them to play with friends and fans of other systems will only allow the market to expand and allow gamers to broaden their horizons, but may finally allow the industry to finally take a step back from this silly “console war”. In doing so, we will re-imagine the overall idea of unifying a medium appreciated by players and fans of all walks of life.

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After the Minecraft cross-play announcement, the hopefullness of merging networks seems to attract not only fellow gamers, but developers as well. With the Xbox name proving it’s open to the idea of cross-play with several previously released additions to linking Steam players and Live players, and even stating in interviews that they’re ready to discuss the potential of combing the online market, it’s clearly evident that we – as an improving technological industry – are making huge steps forward in the ever-growing and expansive online console generation.

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