Smed weighs in on Sony’s historical PlayStation crossplay hangups

    
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Sony’s managed to piss off a whole lotta gamers over its unwillingness to play ball on Fortnite. As we covered last week, the PlayStation 4 giant has refused to allow cross-platform play between the PS4 and the other big consoles, notably the Xbox One and the Switch, which has led YouTubers to blast the policy, as you basically need to run multiple accounts (and potentially buy all your cosmetics twice) if you like to move between devices.

Last night, John Smedley – MMORPG players know him best as the former President of Sony Online Entertainment and then Daybreak – gave his own take on why Sony used to be so stubborn about console crossplay in response to a GameOverGreggy tweet about Fortnite.

“When I was at Sony, the stated reason internally for this was money,” Smed tweeted, referring to his time at the company prior to 2015. “They didn’t like someone buying something on an Xbox and it being used on a Playstation. Simple as that. Dumb reason, but there it is. […] If we keep the pressure up this problem goes away.”

Still, Smed has been quick to point out he wasn’t necessarily talking about Fortnite or modern Sony, for that matter. “I was just talking about when I was there. Nothing to do with Fortnite and I’m not saying that’s the reason now.”

A player-led petition to ask Sony to change its mind is ongoing.

Source: SmedTwitter
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Goettel

The truth ain’t in him.

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Travis In Canada

Last night, John Smedley – MMORPG players know him best as the guy that mis lead and fucked over thousands of people with H1Z1.

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

Of course it’s about the money, when in doubt, always assume it’s about money.

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Cosmic Cleric

Of course it’s about the money, when in doubt, always assume it’s about money.

You’re mostly right, but every once in a while, it’s about the Ego instead.

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Witches

So what Smed is saying is that Sony shouldn’t do with the PS4 what Amazon does, after all i cant watch something i own on Netflix using Amazon.

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zuldar

They didn’t like someone buying something on an Xbox and it being used on a Playstation.

You know what, that’s perfectly fine. If they want microtransactions to be locked to the system they were bought for that’s not entirely unreasonable, I understand their reasoning. Completely locking the account and rejecting all cross platform play is going way too far though.

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Angel of Def

How would Smed know?

As someone who actually worked for SCEA, we had no idea back then what SOE was doing, or vice versa. We were separate companies. If I wanted to work with Smed at SoE I would have had to quit my job at SCE-SD and apply at SoE.

SoE was under Sony Movies, and SCE was under Music.

While Smed might have been privy to inter-company communications with other higher ups, it wasn’t just a profit motive. There was logistical reasons SCERT closed off the system, with the chat backend, DNAS, and other technical issues we were working on for HOME, there was hurdles that prevented us from doing cross platform back when he would have had any access to decisions Ken or others made back then.

I know, I actually worked on some of those systems. Today, I no longer work there, and as the backend has changed Its possible now with less work, but back then, 05 and earlier ALL systems were closed environments for consoles and it wasn’t just profit motive behind the reasoning as explained before.

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Paragon Lost

Maybe because he was in higher management, you know being president of SOE. Versus being someone who just worked as a coder, customer service or some other much lower on the TO&E that didn’t have a need to know. Plausible?

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Angel of Def

SCEA/Sony JP/Sony Music/Sony Movies didn’t work that way back then. It wouldn’t have mattered if he was higher management or not. We didn’t share tech, we sure as hell didn’t share budgets, and we didn’t share inter-company secrets.

Things were compartmentalized back then… we were separate companies under the umbrella of Sony. Things changed since Sony worldwide merger, but this was WAY before that. As I said, he wouldn’t have a clue. Cross play wasn’t even a thought for the SCERT/SCEA teams back when we were creating the back end for PSN/DNAS

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Paragon Lost

Gotcha, thanks for reply and further information.

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Angel of Def

Anytime! And just to be clear, I’m not hating on the guy, and today he is probably right, but back in the day it wasn’t a concerted effort to block cross play for profits. He is just kinda misrepresenting the situation and I wanted to clarify as someone who actually worked on it =)

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Paragon Lost

Yep, I wasn’t really thinking you were coming off as hating on him. Also I realize my textual tone in my initial reply to you wasn’t the best, which I apologize for. It came off a bit caustic, I need to watch out for that. I appreciated the additional measured reply to me. :)

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Sally Bowls

I would be interested in reading what someone more experiences in the console world thinks of the future after E3.

I know Sony “won” – or at least sold two out of three consoles – this generation.

But after this E3, I think I would bet on MSFT for five years from now. I think Azure is ahead of everyone except Amazon in cloud computing. In a streaming, cloud-based, run on PC, TV, Phone, Console, world, I think Microsoft has a lot of advantages: I think breaking down the walls between PC&console (and even mobile) is a good thing, I think Microsoft has advantages in technology and capital($) for making that transition. And being incredibly huge and owning the Windows monopoly always helps. I can’t see SNE being able to get much outside the proprietary traditional console, but I am not sure that is the way the market is going.

OTOH, I tend to overvalue new/innovative. Ofc, I would never have guessed the Switch would be so successful, so I am clearly not the best judge.

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Sally Bowls

A lot of this is caused by the fact that MSFT/SNE lose money by selling the machines. Your beliefs will determine how much you think that is “evil corp going for profit” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Razor_and_blades_model and how much is the gamers are too cheap to pay the real price. (Personally, between gamers and game companies, I tend to blame them both.)

If SNE & MSFT did not need to generate a couple of hundred dollars in profits per console from game sales, perhaps it would be a different world.

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A Dad Supreme

Meanwhile, back at Bethesda Headquarters…

One of the perks of pre-ordering Fallout 76 is that you’ll be automatically included in the pool of B.E.T.A. testers. However, life is not always equal or fair, and as such, Xbox One players will be the very first to get their hands on this survival sandbox MMO before their PC and PlayStation 4 friends. In fact Xbone players can pre-download it right now.

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A Dad Supreme

“They didn’t like someone buying something on an Xbox and it being used on a Playstation. Simple as that. Dumb reason, but there it is.

Doesn’t seem dumb that a company wants people to purchase it’s console over a competitor, so they make you choose one or the other.

I don’t think you can buy a hamburger in Burger King, then go over to McDonald’s and ask them to put a piece of cheese and special sauce on it for you, even if you said you’d pay for it.

After all, it’s their job to make money for shareholders first and foremost and a big part of that is protecting your brand.

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?Atmosph3rik?

Muh capitalism!

It’s also their job to listen to their customers and adapt to a changing industry. Or fade into obscurity.

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A Dad Supreme

You would think it’s their job to do that, but you’d be surprised at how much they already know consumers will put up with many things before leaving.

If a consumer thinks a product has a lot of value, they’ll put up with what they feel are slights of insensitivity on a company’s behalf.

It’s like Harley Davidson. They had a reputation for being leaky and breaking down; that was part of the price you paid. Or with Volvo having quirky things in their interior unlike other car companies.

People don’t like them or would like to see them change but they realize that no matter what, they would still buy it so change is very slow.

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Paragon Lost

The reputation on Harley really is a distant past thing. An issue in particular with the brief AMF ownership and before that way back in the early days of motorcycling as a whole. Meaning that all brands suffered from the leaky and breaking down in those early years. Harley, Indian, Excelsior, Vincent etc, back in those early days.

What gave it the more recent reputation was the 1970’s AMF era which was a really bad time for them. I’ve owned many motorcycles over the past forty years including three Harley’s, and my current bike is a Harley Davidson Road Glide Special with about ten thousand dollars of additional stuff. Freaking bike is basically 35k.

Currently trying to talk my wife into allowing me to get a new limit run 2018 Kawasaki Z900RS Cafe Z. Throw back cafe racer which is floating my boat. lol What can I say, I’ve got a motorcycle addiction. Oh and Volvo always had a reputation of being boxy but safe in the circles I ran, but yeah also quirky interior design as well. lol

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A Dad Supreme

I agree with the rep being in the past. Now with technology they are just as reliable as any other typical motorcycle.

The thing was (in the past) was that buying a Harley was prestige that also included your ability to brag about how it died or was in the shop. People expected you to roll up with grease on your hands and an hour late to the bar.

In a way it was like being a Cubs fan for years… no Title was a part of the draw; lovable losers during a time when everyone else’s product was performing (getting championships). When the Cubs won they kind of lost the mystique and now many of their fans miss a lot of that.

All I’m saying is that customers tend to accept many things that aren’t reliable or perfect if the product has a certain amount of prestige along with it and companies know that.

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Paragon Lost

Right, somehow I let that very clear point breeze right over my head. lol. Sorry about that ADS. A valid point I might add.

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thirtymil

I used to drive a Volvo, the heated leather seats were excellent but the oversteer on the rear wheel drive took a bit of getting used to. I once had a biker have a go at me in a pub when I mentioned I drove one because apparently Volvo drivers don’t look out for motorcyclists. Make of that what you will!

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Paragon Lost

What an odd motorcyclist. I’d never run across “Volvo drivers don’t look out for motorcyclist” mindset before. I fondly recall an old 1st Sgt of mine who had a 740 Turbo I think it was. It was all leather interior with a dark red/burgundy paint job that was damn nice to ride in.

Really liked that vehicle, was really nice on the Autobahn back in Europe thirty or so years ago. Much more comfortable than my Suzuki GSX R750 was when the weather was nasty, that’s for sure.

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thirtymil

Mine was a 740 GLE in gold. Funniest thing that ever happened to me in it was a Mini Metro pulled out of a side junction without looking and ran into me – he dented my wing and broke my headlight glass (but not the bulb) – and completely wrote his car off. They had to tow it away.

Mine went for scrap twenty years ago – then last year I moved to a small village, only to find a white 740 parked up round the corner :)

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dinwitt

Except that doesn’t fly in this case, because people are able to buy cosmetics on the PC and use them on the PS4. This is more akin to going into McDonald’s and not being allowed to leave.

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BalsBigBrother

Meanwhile some companies adapt to changes quicker than others.

While this has been around for a while and certainly not new GoG Connect is a good example of putting the customer first above potential short term profits. (https://www.gog.com/connect)

Strapline:

Connect your Steam account and jumpstart your GOG.com library.
You own the games, so why buy them more than once?

Admittedly its not 100% of the games you own on steam but there are a fair few that if you have purchased on steam will be put onto your GoG.com account and be drm free too.

The thinking being is that if you engage your customer with nice things like this they will stick around and maybe purchase future products directly in the future. To be fair for me that works as I tend to look at gog.com first before any other outlet except maybe Humble Bundle store.

However if you take the current Sony approach all you do is antagonise your customers and they tend to have long memories about such things.

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Rolan Storm

Worked for me too, now I use GOG when I can to purchase my games. And yes, exactly their attitude won me over.