Xbox boss Phil Spencer has bitten in what is almost approaching a war of words in the crossplatform multiplayer dispute.
An upcoming update to Minecraft will introduce online multiplayer across PC, Xbox, mobile and Nintendo, but not PS4. The same is true of Rocket League, whose upcoming Nintendo Switch version can play with all other formats except Sony’s.
When pressed on the reasons behind this decision, PlayStation global sales and marketing head Jim Ryan recently said that: "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.”
Now speaking to Giant Bomb, Spencer seems to have taken exception to the accusation that Minecraft players using Xbox Live are not safe.
The fact that somebody would make an assertion that somehow we’re not keeping Minecraft players safe, I found, not only from a Microsoft perspective, but from a game industry perspective… I don’t know why that has to become the dialogue. That doesn’t seem healthy for anyone.”
We take the safety of Xbox Live, of our players across all of our games, and inside of Minecraft, obviously an incredibly important part of that. It’s incredibly important to our team. We would never put Minecraft in a place where we felt like we weren’t keeping our players safe.”
However, Spencer maintains that the door remains open. Indeed, Microsoft’s Dave McCarthy has separately told GameSpot that discussions had taken place but that the companies were not quite there yet”.
It has also been revealed that Nintendo Switch players will actually get to log into Xbox Live when playing Minecraft.
As per a NeoGaf translation, Mojang CEO Jonas Mrtensson said of Switch’s Xbox Live integration: Everyone that’s in on this, all the platform holders, have been pretty pragmatic and understanding of that what we’re trying to do is create a good experience for the players. We needed a good system to connect everyone, and Xbox Live is a good system.”