Mike Ybarra on cross-platform gaming: “people want larger multiplayer pools of people to play with”, it’s here to stay

Jack Wilkinson

The Jackbox Party Pack 3 on Xbox One

In recent times, we’ve seen a bigger push towards cross-platform gaming, whereby gamers can play with people who aren’t necessarily playing on the same platforms, e.g Xbox vs. PC.

The most prominent push for cross-platform play came from Microsoft itself, when the company announced that Minecraft will be taking many strides forward and become cross-platform across console, PC, and mobile – hereby opening up each platform to potentially millions of more players. After announcing the move to make Minecraft cross-platform, it became clear that Sony would not be opening up its PlayStation 4 to cross-platform play with the game, as Sony’s head of marketing at PlayStation, Jim Ryan, stated:

Minecraft – the demographic playing that, you know as well as I do, it’s all ages but it’s also very young. We have a contract with the people who go online with us, that we look after them and they are within the PlayStation curated universe. Exposing what in many cases are children to external influences we have no ability to manage or look after, it’s something we have to think about very carefully.

This was shortly followed by Microsoft’s head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, hitting back in an anger-fueled statement that read:

We take the safety of Xbox Live, of our players across all of our games — inside of Minecraft, obviously an incredibly important part of that — it’s incredibly important to our team,” Spencer told Giant Bomb. “We would never put Minecraft in a place where we felt like […] we weren’t keeping our players safe.

Now, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President for Xbox and Windows gaming, Mike Ybarra, has given his own views on Sony’s stance, pointing out that gamers want “larger multiplayer pools of people to play with” and insisting that “this isn’t going away”, in a tweet sent out in response to GameInformer criticising Sony’s stance on the matter:

It’s clear that feelings are high, with most of the positive feelings being towards Microsoft, and Sony receiving a lot of flak for its seemingly aggressive and anti-consumer stance against cross-platform gaming, which is likely due to its strong lead in this generation of console gaming.