Jim Ryan, PlayStation boss, has told press that there are going to be limits to how closely Microsoft and Sony will be partners. He confirmed that the line would be drawn before the brands of PlayStation and Xbox are mixed.
Ryan discussed this and more in an interview with the Financial Times regarding the partnership the two companies recently revealed that would cover areas such as cloud gaming. He said that the partnership was a response to new competitors entering the market, such as Google with Stadia, but wanted to reiterate that the pair’s individual gaming brands would always remain separate.
Jim Ryan stated that the two brands would maintain their own identities apart from each other, and fans wouldn’t be affected. It’s important to both companies that there is no scenario where these gaming brands are blurred.
While this information would usually be understood as the norm, Microsoft has been changing the landscape lately. Now Xbox Live is accessible across Xbox, PC, and mobile devices, something that would have been unprecedented a generation ago. Even cross-play between Xbox and Nintendo Switch has become a reality.
While it’s probably the case that Microsoft would love to see their products come to PlayStation devices, Ryan has made it clear that this is an unwelcome concept. PlayStation’s focus for the next few years will instead be the transition between PlayStation 4 and the next generation of PlayStation consoles. The focus, Ryan says, must be on retaining the player base from PlayStation 4.
Ryan says that now more than ever it’s important to focus on backwards compatibility, and allowing gamers to continue playing with the friends they’ve made in the years of using the PlayStation 4. Publishers are also putting pressure on platform holders such as Sony and Microsoft to support their increasingly service-based games.
Ubisoft recently made the point that they don’t want to make a sequel to Rainbow Six: Siege, and would prefer to see the game, and its players, move over to the next console generation. With titles such as this becoming increasingly common, for example Fortnite, Destiny 2, and The Division 2, Sony can’t afford to ignore backwards compatibility any longer.