The commercial for the latest Nintendo Switch update for Minecraft, which allows cross-platform play, does something that may be a first for the modern gaming industry: It promotes a competitor’s console in a positive way. Seeing the Xbox and Switch logos together in a single commercial, released on Nintendo’s official YouTube channel, is surreal.
Which makes Sony’s decision to not allow cross-platform play look even worse.
You can watch the commercial above, and see how much attention each platform is given. You see both controllers, and the players are having fun in both cases. The ad makes the case pretty strongly: Minecraft is a fun party you can attend together if you have a Switch or an Xbox One ... but Sony won’t let you in with a PlayStation 4.
It’s a big party that Sony apparently didn’t want to attend. Sony’s refusal to allow cross-platform play, and players’ inability to use their Epic Games accounts on the Switch or the Xbox One if they’ve ever played on the PS4, was already the source of a major controversy during E3. Sony’s response to the Fortnite situation was a disaster, and this Minecraft commercial shows how Nintendo and Microsoft can promote cross-platform play in a positive way while also implicitly dunking on Sony.
Hey @Xbox, since we can play together in @Minecraft now, did you want to build something? pic.twitter.com/LIylWy3yXZ— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) June 21, 2018
Members of the Minecraft team have been vocal in the past about wanting to bring cross-platform play to the PS4, and Rocket League developer Psyonix has told Polygon that the feature is done. Sony simply won’t let the team turn it on.
We would love to have PlayStation players along with the unified Minecraft, hope that we can. https://t.co/hRGPG8Aj8a— Aubrey Norris (@Chupacaubrey) June 11, 2017
A former Sony executive recently said that the issue comes down to the company not wanting items bought on other platforms to ever be used on the PS4.
This issue isn’t going to go away, and this sort of cross-promotion for multiple platforms playing the same game together is another indication that everyone but Sony is willing to play nice together in the current market.
This is an inflection point in gaming, and Sony risks being left behind. This parody image may sum up fan reaction perfectly:
Boy Sony's version of the new Minecraft crossplay trailer is sure accurate! pic.twitter.com/w7ArdAaRt2— Hero of Legend (@GoldMetalSonic) June 21, 2018